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Tue Apr 26, 2016, 08:20 PM

White House urges Congress to move on Zika funding

Source: Reuters

World | Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:46pm EDT

White House urges Congress to move on Zika funding

WASHINGTON | BY TIMOTHY GARDNER

Two senior Obama administration officials wrote congressional leaders on Tuesday to urge legislation be passed to fund the fight against the Zika virus, as concerns mount the United States will soon face locally transmitted cases of the disease.

U.S. health officials concluded this month that the virus, spreading rapidly in the Americas, was a cause of microcephaly, a rare birth defect defined by unusually small head size that can hamper development. Zika is also linked to other health problems.

The Obama administration asked the Republican-controlled Congress on Feb. 22 for $1.9 billion in emergency supplemental funding to address the health threat from Zika.

With Congress failing to move quickly on that request, the administration earlier this month redirected $589 million to prepare for Zika, mostly from a fund to fight the Ebola virus.

"Without significant additional appropriations ... the nation's efforts to comprehensively respond to the disease will be severely undermined," Susan Rice, President Barack Obama's national security adviser, and Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in the letter.

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Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-white-house-idUSKCN0XN2Y5

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