U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said at a campaign stop in Miami on Tuesday that she thinks congressional leaders should hold a special session to pass a funding bill to combat the Zika virus.
“I am very disappointed that the Congress went on recess before actually agreeing what they would do to put the resources into this fight,” Clinton said after touring a community health center. “I would very much urge the leadership of Congress to call people back for a special session and get a bill passed.”
Clinton said she first learned of the threat posed by the Zika virus in December from her daughter, Chelsea Clinton. In April, Clinton sent two deputies to study the virus in Puerto Rico, the territory with the first U.S. Zika cases.
President Barack Obama in February requested $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight the virus. In May, the U.S. Senate approved a $1.1 billion package, while the House passed legislation providing $622 million. Final approval was delayed when the Republican-controlled Congress attached provisions that Democrats oppose.
Clinton on Monday urged the passage of the original Senate bill or a similar one that can earn bipartisan support.
“Pass the bipartisan funding bill that the Senate passed. The Senate passed a bill and unfortunately a different bill was passed in the House and no agreement could be reached before they went out on recess,” Clinton said in Miami.
Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott said on Tuesday that there are four new cases of people likely infected with Zika through mosquito bites in the Miami area. There are now 21 total cases of locally transmitted Zika within a one-square-mile (2.6-sq-km) area in Miami-Dade County.
(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker and David Morgan in Washington; Writing by Amanda Becker; Editing by Sandra Maler; Editing by Bernard Orr)