South Florida Mayors Join Congressional Delegation in Push For Zika Funding
One week after a visit from Governor Rick Scott in an effort to secure funds to fight Zika, members of South Florida’s Congressional delegation met with two local mayors who have been dealing first hand with the fight against the virus.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine were in Washington D.C. to meet with a bipartisan group of U.S. Representative from five districts – Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson along with Republicans Carlos Curbelo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – as the group continues to plead for Congress to approve billions in funding to help.
"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," said Mayor Gimenez. “I appreciate the full support of our state delegation as we continue to urge Congress to provide the funding our community urgently needs."
Bills aimed at funding South Florida’s fight have been stalled in the House of Representatives, with members of both parties blaming each other. The South Florida contingency is hoping their bipartisan unity will encourage a compromise soon.
“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," said Wasserman Schultz.
Ros-Lehtinen added “We have been saying loud and clear: stop the political gamesmanship and pass a full funding Zika bill now. It is way overdue.”
Scott recently approved an additional $10 million in state funds for the battle, bringing the total to $36 million since the disease was first confirmed in the area this summer.
The Wynwood neighborhood north of Downtown Miami, where the disease was first found in non-travel cases, was recently declared Zika free by Scott and Gimenez – along with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado – and the CDC lifted their travel advisory for the area.
Miami Beach recently expanded their Zika transmission zone and will conduct another round of aerial spraying, weather permitting, this Saturday at 6 AM.