After senate blocks Zika funding bill, Florida lawmakers on both sides demand action

WASHINGTON D.C. - One day after failing to pass a $1.1 billion bill that would fund the fight to prevent Zika, lawmakers on both sides talked tough.

The fight for that Zika funding is tied up in what amounts to a political stalemate - and neither side is blinking.

Several South Florida lawmakers made their case Wednesday.

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Representative Dave Jolly, who represents the 13th district in Pinellas County, even used live mosquitoes in the process.

“I rise today to talk about Zika, and I rise with about 100 mosquitoes straight from Florida,” he told his fellow lawmakers, holding up the plastic container.

“This is the fear of Floridians - right here! It is not good enough to work on a compromise for months and months and months with no solution.”

The bill authorizing that funding stalled in the Senate, where Democrats are blocking it due to the restrictions they say the measure places on Planned Parenthood.

At a news conference Wednesday, South Florida Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson were among those appearing with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

“Stop insisting that it is a higher priority to block women’s access to healthcare than to make sure we can protect millions of people from potentially risking their future children’s lives to birth defects,” Schultz says.

“Speaker [Paul] Ryan…please bring a clean bill to the floor!” Wilson added. The people of America are depending on you, the unborn children of America are depending on you.”

The Speaker responded to that call.

“This is obviously an issue we’re going to have to resolve this month…but just so you know, the house did its job and the Senate has been blatantly political with Zika funding.”

This is the third time Senate Democrats have blocked the GOP funding measure.

Ryan will hold a closed door meeting with Republicans on Friday to discuss where to go from here.

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