Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Democrats Want $1.9 Billion For Zika Virus, But No Travel Restrictions

President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Congressional Democrats want Republicans in Congress to approve $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus through research, prevention, and health care in the U.S. and internationally. 

"My foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Americans," Obama wrote in a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan (R-WI). "This request supports the necessary steps to fortify our domestic health system, detect and respond to any potential Zika outbreaks at home, and to limit the spread in other countries."

The Zika virus pandemic that has afflicted much of Latin America and the Caribbean is most likely to gain a foothold in the continental U.S. through Florida this summer.

"So far, every one of those infections has been related to travel — people went to Central and South America, were bitten by infected mosquitos there, and came home with the virus," wrote Clinton on Medium.  

"But we’re likely to see people become infected without leaving the United States — both because there is evidence that Zika can be sexually transmitted, and because mosquitos in this country will likely start spreading Zika as the weather gets warmer." 

According to a recent NASA study, Florida cities have the heaviest amount of travelers arriving from countries where the Zika virus has become pandemic in combination with the longest mosquito season in the United States. Those two main factors have made the Sunshine State the likely ground zero for a local transmission outbreak of the Zika virus. 

"As a Floridian, it is unconscionable to me that House Republicans have failed to act on the Zika virus,” said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz  (D-FL) in a statement. “Florida has the most confirmed cases of Zika virus in the continental United States, and further south, Puerto Rico has more than 500 confirmed cases of Zika.”

But like the Ebola virus, none of the Democrats are calling for restrictions on travel from countries Zika infested regions.

“The most effective way to stop the spread of this virus is to find a cure,” U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said.

Republicans point out that $589 million has already been appropriated to combat the Zika virus and that Democrats have failed to detail how an additional billion dollars would be spent.

“It doesn’t take a lot of thought to realize that this is a request for a blank check without regard for the accountability,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX).

Democrats do have support for the $1.9 billion funding from U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott is scheduled to meet with members of Congress next week to ask for emergency funding.

Donald Trump To Win Most Republican Votes In History

Following last night's announcement made by Ted Cruz that the Texas Senator is suspending his campaign, Donald Trump has not only become the presumptive GOP nominee, but he is also on track to win the most votes of any Republican presidential primary candidate in history.

After winning the Indiana primary, Trump has amassed over 10.6 million popular votes in the 2016 GOP presidential primary election as of May 4th, 2016. 

With primaries still left in nine states, including the populous states of California and New Jersey, the real estate mogul is all but certain to break the record of 10.8 million votes won by George Bush in his first election in 2000.

Trump's record-setting popular vote count is likely the result of what many political analysts are calling the 'Donald Trump Phenomenon' where his populist appeal is creating a larger voter turnout than prior Republican presidential primary elections.

According to a recent Pew Research study, the combined Republican turnout of the first 12 primaries in 2016 has been 17.3% of eligible voters – the highest of any year since at least 1980.

Photo credit: Donald J. Trump for President Campaign

Monday, May 2, 2016

Reed: Infantini's 'Worldview' Different Than Florida Today On Indian River Lagoon

Brevard County Commissioner Trudie Infantini

Brevard County Commissioner Trudie Infantini was given an 'F' on FLORIDA TODAY's "Lagoon Scorecard" because she had a different 'worldview' than the newspaper's newsroom, Opinions Editor Matt Reed revealed during a radio interview on WMFE 90.7 on Friday.

"What about Trudie Infantini, now? She was calling for a state of emergency. There was a public hearing last month I believe, or maybe the month before," said WMFE radio host Matthew Peddie.  "She had a lot of support from the public on that measure. That didn't pass. She still got an 'F'. So why is that?"

"Well I think it just had to do with, um, you know, our news staff making the practical decision, along with our editor, that, you know, voting to create a 'save the lagoon' taxing district and having voted for at least the potential to create a funding source - whether it was through taxes or stormwater fees to pay for the projects at the local level - was a good thing. Now she just has a different worldview on this," Reed answered. 

"She doesn't think that we should be raising any local taxes to pay for lagoon things. Um, you know, the list of projects is never going to be prioritized well enough for her," Reed continued. "She points to other counties along the lagoon that haven't passed similar taxes. She makes a good point there." 

"And she also just believes that declaring a state of emergency and having the Governor get some flexibility to bring in state money is a better way to go. We just decided, for the sake of this grading period, that we just didn't agree with that take."