Local Congressmen and women head to D.C. to fight for Zika funding

Posted at 10:45 PM, Sep 05, 2016

Starting Tuesday the battle begins on Capitol Hill to gain support for Zika funds. Many of our local U.S. congressmen and women will be heading to D.C. this week. 

With two confirmed active Zika transmission zones in South Florida, new non-travel related cases every week and now mosquitoes testing positive for Zika in Miami Beach, local Congressmen and women are urging congress to approve funds to combat Zika.

RELATED: More Zika coverage | Zika Tracker

"It's clear to me that this should not be a partisan issue. It's about protecting our families and our children," said U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy via a phone interview. "I've had a chance to tour right here locally the Scripps Institute and talk to the scientists there and they made it clear, Patrick, we don't understand enough about this virus, we have to learn more."

Funding for research will be a big push this week, but one Palm Beach County Zika patient who contracted the virus locally told NewsChannel 5 last week that she too is making a plea. 

"Pretty much paying for the rest of my life," said the woman who wants to remain anonymous. 

She's writing a letter to Gov. Rick Scott to help patients facing hefty hospital bills due to the unexpected infection. 

"Right now we’re probably about 30,000 for my hospital stay, radiology and for the two specialist who saw me in the hospital," she said.

Sen. Marco Rubio's statements on Friday stressed the CDC's impending end of Zika funds at the end of the month. He said, "Congress should  be prepared to pass a Zika funding measure as part of whatever spending bill ultimately passes to fund the government beyond Sept. 30.”

There are currently 624 pregnant women infected with Zika in the country, 80 in Florida. Nearly 17,000 Americans are infected with the virus. 

'It might not be this summer, but next summer, or the summer after could be where this really catches up to us and becomes an even worse problem than it is right now, so when Congress returns tomorrow I think a full funding bill of $1.9 billion should be passed immediately," added Murphy.