June 28, 2016 / 6:23 PM / 3 years ago

White House chides Congress for failing to fund Zika

A vector control team vehicle displays a sign warning of West Nile Virus before the early morning spraying of a neighborhood due to increasing numbers of mosquitoes having tested positive for West Nile virus in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House spokesman Josh Earnest, on Tuesday, chided Republicans for failing to push forward with the president’s request for funding to combat the Zika virus and address an urgent public health crisis.

“They need that money right now,” Earnest told reporters at a daily briefing, referring to U.S. agencies that he said are on the frontlines of battling the virus, especially in the U.S. South. Senate Democrats earlier on Tuesday blocked a Republican funding proposal that they said was inadequate.

Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe and Mohammad Zargham; writing by Susan Heavey, editing by G Crosse

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