Donald Trump says Congress should approve $1 billion to fight Zika virus

MIAMI, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a Florida newspaper he would call on Congress to approve $1 billion to help fight the spread of the Zika virus.

In Trump’s first comments on Zika and the funding fight that has embroiled lawmakers on Capitol Hill, he told the Miami Herald he would encourage lawmakers to stop partisan bickering and approve the proposed $1.1 billion appropriation immediately.

“Yeah, I would. Absolutely,” he said, in apparent agreement with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton who has made similar statements. “They’re fighting for it, and hopefully that’s going to be approved very soon.”

Republicans and Democrats essentially agree on Zika funding, but Republicans have attached an unrelated amendment to the bill that would prevent federal funds from going to the women’s health organization Planned Parenthood. Democrats in the Senate successfully filibustered the measure before leaving for their August recess and President Barack Obama said he would veto any bill that includes defunding Planned Parenthood.

Trump said he was skeptical much could be done to prevent Zika from spreading in the long run, though he was optimistic that some efforts could help slow it down. The virus is transmitted occasionally between people but is most commonly spread by mosquitoes.

“It’s a tough thing to stop anyway,” he added about the mosquito-borne virus, praising Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump supporter. “But they’re spraying all over the place. I see it. And I think it’ll be fine.”

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