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Donald Trump: Congress should fund efforts to fight Zika

Clinton addresses Zika

Donald Trump said Thursday that he thinks Congress should approve additional funding to fight the Zika virus.

"Let some of the funds that they're asking for come in," the GOP presidential nominee said in a wide-ranging interview with The Miami Herald.

Asked if he would ask Congress to take such action as president, Trump replied, "Yeah, I would absolutely...They're fighting for it, and hopefully that's going to be approved very soon."

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Trump, however, didn't appear to offer any specifics to the newspaper about how much he would ask for.

Last week, Trump told WPEC12 in Florida that Gov. Rick Scott "probably already does" have Zika under control.

Asked if a special emergency session of Congress should be held to review funding, Trump said during that interview, "I would say that it's up to Rick Scott. It depends on what he's looking to do because he really seems to have it under control in Florida."

Both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill support passing additional federal funding for efforts to combat the Zika virus, which Florida is having the first U.S. outbreak of through mosquitoes. Lawmakers from each party, however, are divided over how much to allocate.

President Obama first asked Congress for nearly $2 billion in February to fund efforts to respond to the virus. Republicans then demanded that the administration draw on funds from its Ebola account from 2014 to help fight Zika, which it did, but the administration has emphasized that the full request is needed -- as well as funding to replenish the Ebola accounts.

Before lawmakers left Capitol Hill last month, House and Senate Republicans crafted a $1.1 billion proposal to fight Zika that the House passed, but Senate Democrats then blocked because it didn't fulfill the full request. As a result, GOP leaders are blaming Democrats for the lack of action on approving additional Zika funding.

On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services said, in the meantime, it is redirecting an additional $81 million from biomedical research, healthcare and antipoverty programs to fight Zika.

House Democrats called on their GOP colleagues on Thursday to return to Washington from their seven-week recess to pass additional funding.

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