We are doing our part in Florida, but we need the federal government to be a good partner, which includes both Congress and President Obama.
I went to Washington last week and met with Congressional leaders about the importance for the federal government to get serious about financing the fight against Zika in our country. I asked Congress to get something done. But, what I found in Washington could not be more maddening. Everyone in both parties told me they enthusiastically support the federal government getting serious about erasing Zika.
In all my meetings with both Republicans and Democrats, I couldn’t find anyone who opposes the federal government spending money to eradicate Zika. But, what has happened? Nothing. It’s a perfect example of the complete dysfunction in Washington. Everyone is for funding to get rid of Zika — so of course nothing happens.
This explains the problem with our entire federal government — incompetence.
When you travel around and talk to voters all across the country today, they will tell you that Washington is broken. That’s not really true, it is much worse than broken. To call our federal government broken is far too complimentary. No, the truth is that Washington is completely incompetent.
Everything we are doing in Florida to combat this virus is to protect pregnant women and their developing babies. As a father and a grandfather, I cannot imagine the challenges a child would have being born with microcephaly — or any other birth defect for that matter. That’s why I have continued to call on Congress to get involved in the fight against Zika. How hard could this be? Zika is a threat to our health and it can cause terrible birth defects.
Meanwhile, the taxpayers of Florida have now spent over $26 million fighting Zika, and I just allocated another $10 million to ensure our counties and local mosquito boards continue to have all of the resources they need to combat Zika. We are doing our part in Florida, but we need the federal government to be a good partner, which includes both Congress and President Obama. Obama has not provided the leadership that is needed to get this done, and it would be nice if he stopped taking vacations and focused all his energy on this.
Our broken federal government would never survive in the business world. If they were a company, they would fail. They would go under. They would be fired. Yet, members of Congress scratch their heads and wonder why the public is fed up with Washington.
If they are serious about getting something done, they won’t leave Washington until there is money for Zika. Congress can’t go on recess, and all the members focused on running for reelection should suspend their campaigns until funding is passed. Members should not be in their districts campaigning to keep their jobs when they should be in Washington trying to pass a Zika bill.
Any person in business can tell you that you must be able to function and get things done to continue to operate. For Washington, this would mean actually taking the eradication of the Zika virus seriously and wiping it out through aggressive research and treatment. But every day that passes that Congress doesn't approve funding means more time is lost from researching Zika to find a vaccine to help pregnant women and their growing babies.
Inaction and incompetence — not common sense — rules the day in Washington. And, for every day that goes by without federal action against Zika, the continued spread of this virus and illnesses that result from it are the sad, sick proof that Washington isn’t just broken, it must be completely overhauled from top to bottom.
This originally appeared Oct. 22, 2016 in USA Today