With more than 260 cases of the Zika virus confirmed in Florida, Democratic lawmakers are calling for congressional action.
They’re urging fellow members of Congress to approve nearly $2 billion to fight the spreading virus.
The Obama administration is requesting the funds to develop vaccines and diagnostic tests.
On a phone call to reporters Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Deputy Amy Pope said the stakes are high.
“Zika is an emergency. We need for Congress to treat it that way,” Pope said. “There are already hundreds of pregnant women in the United States that have been diagnosed with Zika.”
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said Senate Democrats recently blocked a bill allocating more than a billion dollars to fighting Zika because Republicans attached controversial provisions to it, including limiting funding to Planned Parenthood.
“This is not a time to play political games. It’s a time to compromise and get something done,” Schumer said.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson said he requested the Zika funding to be sent back to the House as a standalone bill.