Lawmakers Put Healthy Kids On Display to Urge More Zika Funding

Toddlers and infants joined senators to make an argument for increased funding.

— -- Senate Democrats brought out healthy children to talk urge more funding for the battle against the Zika virus and vent their frustrations at Republicans.

Toddlers and infants joined four senators and Heidi Murkoff, the author of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and its related titles, to make an argument for increased federal funding to combat Zika based on the people most affected by the virus: mothers and their babies.

“There are no red or blue babies. There's only healthy babies like these,” Murkoff said at the press conference. Zika has been linked to the birth defect microcephaly -- where the baby's head is smaller than expected.

Coons, who invited Murkoff, previewed the battle lines for the Senate as the two chambers reconcile their competing proposals: the Senate’s, which at $1.1 billion was still too low for Democrats, and the House’s bill, which funds Zika efforts at $622 million for the next five months.

“We've done our job in the Senate. I think for us to move further by accepting what would be demonstrably inadequate funding coming from an unacceptable source, you're asking us to go beyond compromise and well into simply giving up,” he said.

Despite the serious issue, the senators couldn’t help but smile -- and even get down on the floor to play with the children.

Sen. Chuck Schumer sounded particularly pleased to see the children.

“It reminds me of the thing most missing in my life: Grandchildren,” he said.