Obama pushes for more Zika funding

Washington: US President Barack Obama has urged Congress to pass a bill with “sufficient funds” to combat Zika, adding that his request for $1.9 billion is based on health experts’ estimates of the resources needed.

Obama on Friday received the country’s top public safety authorities to help frame government action against the virus, EFE news repoorted.

The evolution of Zika “is not something we need to panic about. But this is something we have to take seriously,” Obama said in a brief statement to reporters after the meeting.

“Congress needs to get me a bill. They should not be going off on recess before this is done,” he said. Recess for the legislature begins at the end of next week.

On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill with $1.1 billion to fight the virus, and the White House has expressed its willingness to accept that amount, though it is less than the $1.9 billion requested by Obama.

Two days earlier, the House of Representatives passed its version of the bill with an allocation of $622 million for the fight against Zika, of which $352 million would come from funds originally allocated to deal with the outbreak of Ebola in 2014, while $270 million would be excess funds from the US Department of Health and Human Services.