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Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing lawmakers to meet President Obama's request for $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus as they prepare to merge competing proposals.

The Florida Republican, ... sent a letter to 33 lawmakers who will be part of the House-Senate conference committee arguing that "time is of the essence."

"I ask you to consider fully funding the fight against the Zika virus," Rubio wrote. "Florida, along with Puerto Rico, are expected to be the hardest hit by detrimental impacts of the Zika virus, and it is imperative that Floridians, Puerto Ricans and all Americans are protected by all available resources and courses of action."

Rubio's letter comes after the Senate voted to go to conference on the larger spending bill — which includes the Zika funding — Wednesday evening. They blocked a push by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to instruct senators to reject any proposal that uses Ebola money to cover the Zika spending.

Noting that the administration requested $1.9 billion, the Florida senator asks conferees to "consider these specific requests as you negotiate the final legislation through this conference as quickly as possible."

"I am available at your convenience to answer any questions related to the Zika outlook for Florida and Puerto Rico," he added.

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