Scott lobbying in D.C. on Zika virus – but Democrats sting back

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Washington, DC, May 11, 2016 | comments


Scott lobbying in D.C. on Zika virus — but Democrats sting back

By John Kennedy

Gov. Rick Scott begins two days of meetings on Capitol Hill today where he plans to lobby members of Congress and the Obama administration to work together to fight the Zika virus.

Scott has been directing most of his fire at President Obama, saying the federal government isn’t doing enough to help states like Florida. Two new cases of Zika infection reported Tuesday in Miami-Dade County brought to 109 the state’s total cases.

“The federal government needs to be a good partner,” Scott said following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Scott’s Wednesday afternoon schedule includes meetings with seven Republican members of the Florida congressional delegation, followed by a sit-down with Sen. Marco Rubio.

While Scott has targeted the White House, the Obama administration’s $1.9 billion emergency funding request to respond to the Zika virus abroad and in this country remains tied up in the Republican-led Congress.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are suggesting the administration first tap unused funds set aside in late 2014 to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa before seeking new dollars to fight Zika.

Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Weston, said she welcomed Scott’s attention to the rising problem.

But she also pointed out that he should aim his criticism at congressional Republicans.

“While I have serious disagreements with Gov. Scott on health care policy, I am glad to see him taking the threat of the Zika virus seriously,” Wasserman Schultz said.

“During his visit, he should ask Congressional Republicans one question: why are they dragging their feet on President Obama’s emergency supplemental request to combat the Zika virus?”

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