Sen. Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged Congress to pass emergency funding to fight the spread of Zika and support the development of a possible vaccine for the mosquito-borne virus.
Congress, which is in recess, has not approved the full $1.9 billion in funding President Barack Obama has asked for to fight the disease.
“It has been more than 165 days since the President requested emergency funding to fight Zika, but Congress has yet to pass a bill and public health now hangs in the balance: the time to act is now,” Schumer (D-New York) said in a statement. “With clinical trials to beat Zika underway, we have a real shot at a vaccine, but unfortunately a Congress that went on recess rather than approve emergency funding is about to pull the plug on this Zika vaccine effort.
“Simply put, if Congress does not go back to Washington to pass this emergency funding package, we will regret it.”
Schumer said clinical trials of a vaccine are to begin this week.
The effort comes after several cases of Zika have been identified in a Miami neighborhood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory for that area for pregnant women.