The GOP offered a Zika bill that would rob funding from Obamacare and impose new restrictions on Planned Parenthood. In addition, it would provide $800 million less than the Obama administration is seeking to fight the Zika virus.
And now, the situation has become even more serious.
The head of the government’s fight against the Zika virus said that “we are now essentially out of money” and warned that the country is “about to see a bunch of kids born with microcephaly” in the coming months.
Friday’s warning from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden came as lawmakers start to sort out a stopgap government funding bill that is being targeted to also carry long-delayed money to battle Zika.
Zika infected babies are born with grave brain defects, but ‘pro-life’ Republicans are not addressing this dire situation.
“We haven’t been able to get a running start” on a long-term battle against Zika, Frieden said.
This past February, President Obama requested $1.9 billion to fight Zika, however, Republicans controlling Congress acted slowly. Fighting Zika is obviously not as important as the Confederate flag is to Republicans. The GOP Zika bill contained language to reverse the ban on flying the Traitor Flag at military cemeteries.
The Obama administration was forced to shit about $650 million from other accounts to battle Zika. The AP notes that most of it was unused money approved two years ago in order to fight Ebola. However, that money is almost gone.
Our government is facing another shutdown over this.
Since the summertime impasse, Zika has spread even more widely, and frustration is mounting from lawmakers representing affected areas. Almost 3,000 people in the continental U.S. have been found to have Zika, and the total is far higher since most people don’t display symptoms. The figures including Puerto Rico and the other territories are much worse.
One Republican in Florida has had it with his colleagues. “Look if we don’t, then fire all of us,” Rep. David Jolly said. “If we can’t get Zika funding by the end of September then we’re nothing but a bunch of idiots up here.” Jolly went as far as to hold a jar filled with mosquitos on the House floor and threatened to unleash them.
“I think we’ll look at this delay in time and say, ‘How could they have waited so long?’ This was so urgent. It was the very definition of an emergency,” Frieden said. “Not only is this unanticipated, it’s unprecedented. It’s potentially catastrophic, and it’s certainly that for the kind of brain damage we’re seeing.”
“We don’t know what congenital Zika syndrome will look like,” Frieden said. “We will likely be dealing with this for decades to come.”
Photo by Chip Somodevilla via Getty.