Editorials

Congress, get your Zika act together

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 14, 2016, to discuss unfinished business before Congress prior to its recess. Congress is about to leave for a seven-week vacation without giving the Obama administration any of the $1.9 billion it's seeking to battle the Zika virus, and a Senate effort to revive the nuts-and-bolts process of passing agency budgets faces another setback at the hands of Democrats.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 14, 2016, to discuss unfinished business before Congress prior to its recess. Congress is about to leave for a seven-week vacation without giving the Obama administration any of the $1.9 billion it's seeking to battle the Zika virus, and a Senate effort to revive the nuts-and-bolts process of passing agency budgets faces another setback at the hands of Democrats. AP

Texas has its first case of Zika-related birth defects, and we still don’t have national funding to fight the virus.

Sixty-three cases have been reported statewide, with nine in Tarrant County, says the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Texas is particularly vulnerable to Zika because of recent flooding.

At least Gov. Greg Abbott understands the gravity of the virus, implementing the Zika Virus Preparedness and Response Plan after getting it reviewed by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

A $2.5 million public outreach campaign has started, with education materials and advertising helping build awareness in the state. State Health Services has also approved more labs to test for Zika, while trying to improve ways to detect the virus even without symptoms.

Texas needs more money for its plan, but with Congress still deadlocked, don’t hold your breath waiting to see funding any time soon.

This isn’t a topic Congress should squabble about. This isn’t the bill for inserting random provisions, like hindering birth control access or loosening pesticide restrictions.

The United States needs Zika prevention funding.

Congress needs to get its act together.

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