Featured image via video screen capture
President Obama used this week’s “Weekly Address” to discuss the Zika virus and slam the Republicans who have chosen to block the funding necessary to fight the spread of this mosquito-borne disease.
The president began by talking about a call he had gotten from a pregnant woman named Ashley who said she was “extremely concerned” about Zika and “what it might mean for other pregnant women like her.” He added that, as a father, he shared this mother’s worry. Conservatives in Congress on the other hand, not so much.
“Republicans in Congress did not share Ashley’s ‘extreme concern,’ nor that of other Americans expecting children. They said no. Instead, we were forced to use resources we need to keep fighting Ebola, cancer, and other diseases. We took that step because we have a responsibility to protect the American people” said Obama. “But that’s not a sustainable solution. And Congress has been on a seven-week recess without doing anything to protect Americans from the Zika virus.”
Obama said that his “Administration has done what we can on our own,” but that is not nearly enough to stop the spread of this disease. He explained the steps that citizens can take to try to protect themselves from the mosquitos who carry and spread the virus: use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, get rid of standing water where mosquitos breed, etc.
And then, President Obama tore into the Republican lawmakers who have been dragging their feet when it comes to funding the measures that will stop the threat of this disease, which is known to cause serious birth defects when a pregnant woman is infected, including microcephaly.
“But every day that Republican leaders in Congress wait to do their job, every day our experts have to wait to get the resources they need – that has real-life consequences. Weaker mosquito-control efforts. Longer wait times to get accurate diagnostic results. Delayed vaccines. It puts more Americans at risk.”
“One Republican Senator has said that ‘There is no such thing as a Republican position on Zika or Democrat position on Zika because these mosquitoes bite everyone.’”
“I agree. We need more Republicans to act that way because this is more important than politics. It’s about young mothers like Ashley. Today, her new baby Savannah is healthy and happy. That’s priority number one. And that’s why Republicans in Congress should treat Zika like the threat that it is and make this their first order of business when they come back to Washington after Labor Day. That means working in a bipartisan way to fully fund our Zika response. A fraction of the funding won’t get the job done. You can’t solve a fraction of a disease. Our experts know what they’re doing. They just need the resources to do it.”
Watch President Obama’s Weekly Address:
By April Hamlin