U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy of Jupiter joined with NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue to blast Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio for failing to resolve the standoff over dollars.
Murphy echoed what has been a weekslong cry from Democrats for Republican leadership to end the summer recess, reconvene Congress and approve President Obama’s proposed $1.9 billion for Zika.
Murphy also ridiculed Rubio for campaigning on the strength of his ties to Republican leadership
“He should be using that clout to actually get something done,” said Murphy, who hopes to unseat Rubio in November. But first, both men have primary contests next Tuesday.
The Republican-led House and Senate failed to resolve differences over Zika funding before breaking for recess just before the July 4 holiday. The call for reconvening has become mostly academic now — with Congress expected back in a couple weeks, right after Labor Day.
But there’s no sign of the Zika deadlock breaking.
House Republicans have been clamoring to include new limits on funding for Planned Parenthood in any Zika legislation, a move fiercely opposed by Democrats who want additional dollars for the organization. Murphy acknowledged Tuesday that there’s been little reach-out between the dueling sides over the summer recess.
And Rubio has drawn heat from Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others for recently saying he did not think that women infected with the Zika virus should have access to abortions, to avoid the risk of severe birth defects.
“Women are desperate for actual solutions from our government,” Hogue said during a conference call with reporters. “Unfortunately, when women look to D.C. right now, it is empty.”
On the campaign trail, Rubio has said he’d support a “clean” bill for Zika funding.
A Rubio spokesman, Michael Ahrens, said the senator has supported calls for leadership to bring Congress back to the Capitol. He also chided Murphy for voting against Zika legislation — Republican-backed — that went before him in the House.