U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio chaired a Capitol hearing Wednesday on the Zika virus even as he continued to get stung by Republican rival Carlos Beruff and Florida Democrats.
With Florida health officials reporting 293 cases of the mosquito-borne virus in the state, including 43 pregnant women affected, Rubio opened Wednesday’s Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing to take testimony from a range of federal health officials and disease experts.
Still, it’s looking unlikely that the House and Senate will settle their standoff over funding to fight the Zika virus, with Congress set to recess Friday for most of the summer.
New York and Florida lead the continental U.S. in cases of the virus, which can cause severe birth defects.
Beruff, who is airing a new TV spot pledging his support for Donald Trump and criticizing Rubio for being “too timid” to help the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, also lashed out at his rival over Zika.
“Now that Marco Rubio needs Floridians’ votes, he’s all of a sudden interested in an issue that’s been on the horizon for over a year and has been impacting Floridians since January,” said Chris Hartline, a Beruff spokesman.
Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant also ripped “no show Rubio” for having “waited a full year before deciding to hold his first hearing on the virus.”