The Growing Zika Threat–and Congress’s Inaction

By:  Ron Klain

Florida health officials have identified 10 more cases of locally transmitted Zika in the Miami area. That means, as of Monday, there are 14 known cases of the virus caused by mosquitoes in the continental U.S. That’s not counting thehundreds of such cases in Puerto Rico.

And Zika won’t stop there.

Soon, more babies with Zika-related microcephaly will arrive in hospitals, facing a horrible fate and expensive treatment.

Recently I wrote about why Washington gridlock is probably not the only reason Congress did not pass any of President Barack Obama‘s request for funds to fight Zika. It seems that lawmakers have not appreciated the severity of the Zika threat thus far.

In conversations with policy makers, I often hear some version of this question: “Everyone was scared of Ebola, so we quickly funded a huge response. Then, Ebola went away.  Maybe the threat was overblown? Why should we spend billions again?”

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