Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Friday blamed his Republican congressional colleagues for the spread of Zika to Florida's Miami Beach, even though it was Senate Democrats who blocked the additional $1.1 billion in funding to fight Zika just before Congress left for an extended summer recess.
"The spread of Zika is distressing, but it is not surprising. Public health officials warned this would happen and that's why Democrats demanded action months ago," said Reid in a statement released on Friday. "This public health crisis will only get worse if Republicans continue their refusal to work with Democrats on a bipartisan response."
The last time Congress took action, the bill failed to gain the 60 votes necessary to set up a final vote before the session ended.
Democrats opposed the GOP funding bill because it drew money from existing sources, and didn't provide new money via deficit spending. But Democrats also opposed the bill because it would have taken funding away from Obamacare and blocked funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico.
Reid has previously demanded that Congress reconvene over the summer to pass legislation to prevent the spread of Zika.
Leaders of both parties have claimed the others are at fault for failing to pass the necessary legislation to prevent the spread of the virus before leaving for the summer in July, a position that Sen. Reid repeated in the press release.
"Democrats have been waiting for months for Republicans to get serious. The American people cannot afford to wait any longer," said Reid.