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Mosquito season brings no urgency for money to fight Zika

Published:Tuesday | May 10, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The White House and Democrats are pressuring congressional Republicans to act on President Barack Obama's demands for money to combat Zika, but even the onset of the mosquito season that probably will spread the virus has failed to create a sense of urgency.

Republicans from states at greatest risk, such as Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, have been slow to endorse Obama's more-than-two-month-old request for $1.9 billion to battle the virus, which causes grave birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently reports more than 470 cases in the continental US, all so far associated with travel to Zika-affected areas.

Polls show that the public isn't anywhere nearly as scared of Zika as it was about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the handful of cases in the US in 2014. Aides to GOP lawmakers, even those representing Southern areas most vulnerable to Zika, said they've yet to hear from many anxious constituents, though they said this could change. "Very few calls/letters," emailed a spokeswoman for Republican Ander Crenshaw.

Yesterday, the National Governors Associated weighed in, urging the administration and lawmakers returning to Washington "to work together to reach agreement on the appropriate funding levels needed to prepare for and combat the Zika virus."