In light of the outbreak of Zika in Florida, are you concerned and what can or is the U.S. government doing to prevent its spread? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I've been increasingly concerned about Zika since I first learned of the threat late last year. For months, experts have warned that the virus would reach the continental U.S. this summer--and now it has. Tomorrow, I am headed to the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, where we've seen the first cases of infection by local mosquitos. That's in addition to the more than 1,800 travel-related cases that have been confirmed across the continental United States, and many more in Puerto Rico.
The spread of Zika poses a serious public health threat, particularly for pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have confirmed its link to microcephaly, a heartbreaking birth defect that can lead to severe developmental delays and lifelong health problems. And there's still so much we don't know about the virus and what it can cause.
If we're serious about keeping families safe, there's no time to waste. We need to step up mosquito control and abatement, provide families with critical health services, including access to contraception, develop a vaccine and treatment, and ensure people know how to protect themselves and their kids. But we can't do any of that without the right resources.
In February, President Obama requested emergency funding to fight this disease. But Republicans in Congress derailed the funding bill--and then they left for summer recess. That's unacceptable. Congress should return to Washington and immediately provide the emergency funds necessary to fight this disease--either by passing the bipartisan Senate bill or proposing a new solution, free of politics. And I will continue to speak out until they do.
As Hillary said, we can't afford to sit back on this issue. A partisan fight is not what families in Florida and across America deserve.
We came up with a bipartisan funding proposal in the Senate, and both Republicans and Democrats passed it overwhelmingly. But then Republicans in the House added what's known as a "poison pill"--they attached anti-Planned Parenthood provisions that would limit access to women's health care clinics, many of which are leading the effort to stem the epidemic.
We need to take politics out of the conversation around Zika funding. And we ought to reconvene and vote on a bill so that we can start making the investments necessary to keep Floridians and Americans safe.
- 2016 U.S. Presidential Election: What does Hillary Clinton plan on doing during her first 100 days in office if elected?
- Hillary Clinton: Why will Hillary's role as a grandmother make her a better president?
- The United States of America: Why is gun control such a divisive issue in American politics?