Congress came back from a seven-week break Tuesday and once again failed to move forward a bill that would pay for a federal Zika response.
As senators traded barbs about whose fault it was, Florida health officials said they'd found seven more home-grown cases of Zika, six of them part of an outbreak in Miami Beach. Florida now has documented 56 locally transmitted cases of Zika infection, presumably passed by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are active nearly year round in south Florida.
President Barack Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika in February, but the Republican-dominated Congress stalled.
The heads of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, as well as other leading experts, said they needed to money quickly and offered explanations for how it would be spent, but conservative members of the House and the Senate alike balked.
The House offered $1.1 billion in Zika funding in June, but the money wasn't new funding. It was mostly repurposed funding from other programs, notably efforts to clean up after the Ebola epidemic that killed 11,000 people in West Africa in 2014-15.
And it specifically cut money from Planned Parenthood — a move the Republicans knew Democrats would reject, and they did.