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Nelson chides Senate Leader McConnell for Zika inaction


U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida poked at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday over the Zika virus, suggesting McConnell might take the disease outbreak more seriously if it was happening in his own state.

"Wait until a mosquito bites one of the people who is traveling to Kentucky and then he gets a transmitted case in Kentucky," Nelson, a Democrat, told a pool reporter in Washington. "Then we'll get action."

Nelson said he sent McConnell, a Republican, a letter Tuesday urging him to pass a Zika-funding bill through a procedural maneuver that wouldn't require the Senate to convene in emergency session. Lawmakers are in recess while Zika is spreading in and near Miami's Wynwood neighborhood.

McConnell didn't respond to his letter Tuesday, Nelson said. Florida members of Congress separately urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday to give the state more money to fight the virus.

"If they don't understand that this is now a crisis, with what has just happened in Miami, then they've got really -- they are putting their heads in the sand," Nelson said.