As the Zika outbreak grows in the US, President Obama is blasting Republicans for planning to go on Memorial Day vacation before passing needed funding to combat this potential public health crisis.
President Obama spoke to the press after being briefed about the Zika outbreak by public health officials.
The President said:
So we’ve got to get moving. And what essentially NIH and CDC have been doing is taking pots of money from other things — universal flu funds or Ebola funds or other funds — just to get the thing rolling. But we have to reimburse those pots of money that have already been depleted and we have to be able to sustain the work that’s going to need to be done to finish the job.
So bottom line is Congress needs to get me a bill. It needs to get me a bill that has sufficient funds to do the job. They should not be going off on recess before this is done. And certainly this has to get done over the course of the next several weeks in order for us to be able to provide confidence to the American people that we’re handling this piece of business.
If I’m a young family right now, or somebody who’s thinking about starting a family, this is just a piece of insurance that I want to purchase. And I think that’s true for most Americans. And understand that this is not something where we can build a wall to prevent — mosquitoes don’t go through Customs. To the extent that we’re not handling this thing on the front end, we’re going to have bigger problems on the back end.
Obama also urged the American people to tell Congress to do their jobs.
The problem is that House Republicans have decided to endanger the health of infants by trying to go cheap on Zika response funding. Republicans are refusing to fully authorize Obama’s funding request to fight the virus. Additionally, House Republicans want to fund Zika response by diverting funds away from the response to Ebola.
In their veto threat of the House Republican bill, the White House wrote, “While the Administration appreciates that the Congress is finally taking action to address the Zika virus, the funding provided in H.R. 5243 is woefully inadequate to support the response our public health experts say is needed. Specifically, the Administration’s full request of $1.9 billion is needed to: reduce the risk of the Zika virus, particularly in pregnant women, by better controlling the mosquitoes that spread Zika; develop new tools, including vaccines and better diagnostics to protect the Nation from the Zika virus; and conduct crucial research projects needed to better understand the impacts of the Zika virus on infants and children.”
Republicans would rather go vacation than pass the needed funding to combat the outbreak of a virus that causes brain damage in infants. The Republican Congress is once again placing the priorities of the American people last.
For years, this president has dealt with the intentional paralysis of the legislative process by Republicans who only answer to their millionaire and billionaire donors. Obama is fed up with the Republican behavior. When Republicans are refusing to put protecting the health of unborn children ahead of vacation, they are no longer serving the people but acting against the best interests of those who elected them to serve.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association