After months of squabbling about the issue, the U.S. House on Wednesday night approved a measure that provides $1.1 billion to help combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
A broader spending bill that includes the Zika funding was approved by the House in a 342-85 vote, after receiving Senate approval earlier in the day. President Barack Obama early this year proposed spending $1.9 billion to address Zika, which is particularly dangerous to pregnant women because it can cause birth defects. As of Wednesday, 921 cases had been reported in Florida. Congress had been unable to reach agreement on Zika funding until this week, causing frustration for Gov. Rick Scott, Florida's congressional delegation and health officials. "It's disgraceful that Congress took so long responding to this deadly health crisis," U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., said in a prepared statement Thursday morning. "This was a case of Washington dysfunction at its worst."