Clinton asks Congress to return from summer break to pass emergency Zika funding

MIAMI, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to cut short its summer break to pass an emergency funding bill to fight the spread of the Zika virus.

Clinton appeared at Borinquen Health Care Center in Miami on Tuesday, the site of a specific warning from the Centers for Disease Control that said pregnant women and their partners should avoid visiting the Wynwood neighborhood of the city — which is where 17 individuals so far have caught the virus.

“Everybody has a stake in this. And that’s really why I’m here,” the Democratic nominee said in her speech. “We don’t want to wake up in a year and read more stories about babies like the little girl who just died in Houston.”

Officials confirmed Tuesday that an infant died shortly after birth in Texas because her mother had been infected with Zika while traveling to Latin America during her pregnancy.

The Texas baby’s death is the second reported Zika fatality in the United States.

At the Miami rally, Clinton said she is very disappointed that Congress decided to break without passing any legislation to fund combat measures against the spreading virus.

“I would very much urge the leadership of Congress to call people back for a special session and get a bill passed,” she said.

Clinton and congressional Democrats blocked a bill last month that earmarked $1.1 billion for the Zika fight — largely because Republicans attached an unrelated measure that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. The bill passed the Republican-controlled House but Democrats mounted a filibuster in the Senate before the August recess.

Republicans, though, said Democrats should drop their political opposition to one part of the legislation and pass the Zika bill.

“We would love for Sen. Kaine and others to end that filibuster and pass the bill, but it doesn’t sound like they’re prepared to do that,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., referring to Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. “Apparently they believe an earmark for Planned Parenthood in the future is more important than preventing the threat of Zika now.”

President Barack Obama, who asked for $1.9 billion in Zika funding this summer, has pledged to veto any measure that defunded Planned Parenthood.



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