Gov. Rick Scott says Congress should treat the mosquito-borne Zika virus more like a hurricane in a statement
that announced Scott was planning a trip to Washington D.C. next week to push for federal emergency funds.
President Obama asked Congress for $1.9 billion
to fight the virus, but those funds have been blocked by Republicans who seem to disagree
on the amount. Florida, which has the most Zika cases of any states, currently has 102 travel-related cases as of Wednesday, according to the Florida Department of Health
. A 70-year-old man in Puerto Rico became the first U.S. Zika death last week after dying from complications related to the virus.
"We don’t yet know for certain what will happen with this virus, but we owe our citizens a vigorous and thorough preparation effort at the federal level to best protect their health," Scott says in a statement
. "Congress and the Obama Administration have discussed different plans to combat the Zika virus, some with different price tags. While there is no doubt that Washington wastes money on many things, that vast history of wrongful spending should not stop the federal government from doing the right thing now by executing a robust plan to prevent and combat the spread of Zika in America."
Scott says that like "the movements of a hurricane," many aspects of the Zika virus and its effects are still unknown and inconclusive.
"Just as the time to prepare for a hurricane is before landfall, the time to prepare for combating this virus if it becomes mosquito-borne is now," Scott says. "Washington must put politics aside and agree to a comprehensive plan to protect and respond to the spread of Zika in America. To best protect our citizens, this agreement must be made immediately. Working together, Washington leaders can ensure Zika protection and response efforts are both fully funded and fully safeguarded against waste – just as they enact safeguards on emergency spending around a natural disaster."
Scott's trip to meet with congressional leaders will be on May 11-12.