Rubio joins call for Congress to reconvene on Zika virus

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

It’s been mostly Democrats urging Congress to return from summer recess to deal with the spreading outbreak of the Zika virus.

But Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who is running for re-election, also joined the chorus Monday. The first four cases in the continental U.S. of the illness being transmitted through a local mosquito bit occurred in Rubio’s home Miami-Dade County.

Another 10 cases were reported Monday by Gov. Rick Scott. All seem to be traced to mosquito bites in a one-mile area just north of downtown Miami, in the Wynwood neighborhood.

Women who have visited the Wynwood neighborhood in Miami since June 15 should avoid getting pregnant for at least eight weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Zika appears to have begun spreading among mosquitoes in this are.

“I hope we’ll return to Washington quickly, take a day and just pass this funding measure so we can start to get funds flowing,” Rubio said.

“A week ago, before the cases were announced, I had asked President Obama to take $300 million that’s disposable, that he has under his control, and fully utilize that to get ahead of it.”

The Republican-controlled U.S. House and Senate failed to settle on an amount for fighting the Zika virus. Rubio had also crossed sides earlier this year — supporting President Obama’s call for $1.9 billion for Zika, an amount neither the House nor Senate would endorse.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter, who is looking to unseat Rubio in November, also weighed in Monday on the call for Congress to go back to Washington.

“I am calling on the leadership of both chambers to put politics aside and the health of the American people first,” Murphy said.

“Congress should immediately reconvene and pass a clean emergency funding measure – without the divisive policy riders that derailed earlier legislation – so that states like Florida have the resources needed to fight this virus.”

 

 

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