Obama sends Congress $1.9B request to combat Zika virus

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has sent lawmakers an official $1.9 billion request to combat the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the U.S.

He is also requesting flexibility to use a limited portion of leftover funds provided in 2014 to fight Ebola to take on Zika, which has been linked to devastating birth defects. Top House Republicans told the White House last week that the quickest way to get the money to fight Zika would be to use some of the approximately $2.7 billion in "unobligated" Ebola-fighting money to combat Zika.

Zika has been spreading through countries such as Brazil, but is also being transmitted by mosquitoes in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa. Travelers have also returned to the continental U.S. infected with the virus.