South Florida mayors head to Capitol Hill to press Congress for Zika funding
Florida legislators band together in Zika fight
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine met with Florida legislatures Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., to press Congress for more funds to combat the Zika virus in South Florida.
"Today's meeting further proves that Florida legislators from both parties and elected leaders at all levels are taking this issue seriously," U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) said. "We have seen firsthand the impact of Zika on our neighborhoods. For Floridians, it represents both an economic and public health threat. Today, we once again come together to urge Congress to pass a clean Zika bill to fund response efforts long-term, and I'm confident that the concerns of our South Florida community will soon be addressed."
Gov. Rick Scott has so far authorized more than $36 million to be spent on fighting Zika, a hefty portion of which has already been spent in Miami-Dade County.
Gimenez predicts that between $8 million and $10 million will have been spent in Miami-Dade County by the end of the month to combat the virus.
"South Florida is ground zero for Zika and we need Congress to step in to help us keep our millions of residents and visitors safe," Gimenez said. "I appreciate the full support of our state delegation as we continue to urge Congress to provide the funding our community urgently needs."
The Zika zone in Wynwood was lifted Monday, but the Zika zone in Miami Beach has nearly tripled in size.
More than 850 Floridians have contracted the virus, which includes 92 non-travel-related cases and 90 cases involving pregnant women.
"As I've advocated for months, along with my South Florida colleagues, we need a clean Zika funding bill to attack this crisis, and it is long past time for House Republican Leadership to stop playing politics with people's lives," U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said. "We cannot allow extraneous political issues to interfere with our public health response, especially for a disease that overwhelmingly affects pregnant women and potential mothers-to-be."