After members of the GOP-controlled House failed to pass legislation to address the growing Zika crisis, Rep. David Jolly (R-FL) decided to take matters into his own hands. To illustrate the fear and anger that many Floridians are experiencing, Jolly took a container full of 100 mosquitoes, all of them of the type that carry the Zika virus, onto the floor of the House.
While Jolly stressed that the mosquitoes were not actually positive as carriers for Zika, he made an effective point nonetheless. “This is the reason for the urgency. This is the reason for the fear,” he said, holding the jar. Jolly explained that many Floridians were anxious, frightened, and angry about what they perceived as a failure to act by their government.
‘I brought these mosquitoes today to convey that fear and that anxiety of millions of Americans, of Floridians. Can you imagine the fear and anxiety in this chamber if these mosquitoes were outside this jar, not inside this jar. Members of Congress would run down the hall to the physician’s office to be tested. They would spray themselves before coming down here. This is the fear of Floridians! Right here!’
The Florida Representative went on to criticize politics-as-usual partisanship for the delays regarding Zika funding. “Mr. Speaker, it is time to act,” he told the House. “The politics of Zika have gone on far too long. The politics of Zika are wrong.”
Jolly also chastised congress members for allowing “non-Zika-related healthcare” to be tacked on to the bill. CNN reported on Tuesday that Senate Democrats blocked the Zika bill because it contained provisions to defund Planned Parenthood. GOP lawmakers had also removed a provision banning confederate flags from veteran’s cemeteries. According to Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV),
‘Republicans were more interested in attacking Planned Parenthood and flying the Confederate flag — can’t make this stuff up, that’s really the truth — than protecting women and babies from this awful virus.’
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also offered up his two cents,
‘It’s hard to explain why — despite their own calls for funding — Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that could help keep pregnant women and babies safer from Zika.’
The vote came as Zika, which can also be transmitted sexually, is starting to spread in Puerto Rico as well as a few U.S. states. Unfortunately, the bitter language being used by McConnell and Reid doesn’t bode well for a solution any time soon.
Watch the full video below:
Featured image is a screen capture from the video.