Sep 14 2016
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined Florida Governor Rick Scott in urging Congress to immediately pass legislation to fund the fight against the Zika virus.
During a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Rubio and Scott highlighted the negative impact Zika is having on Florida, where at least 799 people have been infected – including at least 86 pregnant women and 70 people who have contracted the virus locally.
“The list of reasons why Congress has taken so long to pass anti-Zika funding is long and disgraceful, but we are now on the verge of getting it done and protecting Americans,” said Rubio. “I appreciate Governor Scott’s efforts at the state level to combat the Zika virus. But it’s long past time the rest of Congress follow suit, because Zika is a national problem that requires a federal response, including funding to develop a vaccine that eradicates this virus.
“This is Governor Scott’s second visit to Washington regarding Zika, and I’m not aware of any other governor who has come to Washington for the sole reason of advocating for action against Zika,” Rubio continued. “But I can assure everyone that if the rest of Congress keeps playing games with Zika and fails to pass funding now, we are going to see more governors and more Americans from every state and U.S. territory beating down these doors here in Washington in the near future.
“But there are almost 20,000 Americans currently infected, so we have a chance right now to help them and prevent the spread of this virus,” Rubio added.
Photos of the meeting are below and can be credited to the Office of the Senate Majority Leader:
Timeline of Rubio’s efforts to combat Zika:
- January 29, 2016 - Rubio expressed safety concerns over the Zika virus and its impact on Florida, and asked that public health concerns be addressed.
- April 8 - Rubio became the first congressional Republican to announce his support for the administration’s $1.9 billion request to combat the virus at a press conference in Miami.
- May 5 - Rubio published an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel about stopping the Zika virus before it becomes a crisis.
- May 10 - Rubio on CNN: Congress needs to act on Zika, Puerto Rico.
- May 12 - Senators Rubio and Nelson introduced the first bipartisan agreement to provide the full $1.9 billion the administration says it needs to curb the spread of the Zika virus.
- May 12 - Rubio Urges Congress To Support Nelson-Rubio Legislation To Fully Fund Zika Response.
- May 24 - Rubio: To Get A Serious Zika Bill On President’s Desk, The American People Need To Speak Out.
- May 26 - In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Rubio urged Senate leadership to immediately proceed to an official conference with the U.S. House of Representatives where they can reconcile differences for funding to combat the Zika virus and send a bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible.
- June 3 - Rubio and Congressman Carlos Curbelo held a joint press conference in Miami, Florida to urge their colleagues in Congress to pass funding for the Zika virus when they return to session.
- June 9 - Rubio urged Zika negotiators to push for full funding. He sent a letter to all 33 members of Congress appointed to the conference committee reconciling differences between proposals in the House and Senate.
- June 15 - Rubio questioned the CDC about its preparedness plan in the event of a locally transmitted Zika virus case in Florida during a Florida delegation hearing on Zika outbreak preparedness. He also asked the panel of Zika experts about diagnostic testing, necessary funding and the federal government’s role in aiding vaccine development for the virus.
- June 26 - Rubio stated in an interview that Congress must immediately approve funding to combat the zika virus.
- June 28 - Rubio commented after the U.S. Senate failed to advance funding to combat the Zika virus. Although Rubio voted for the funding, it failed to receive the 60 votes needed to advance.
- July 7 - Rubio: Enough Excuses On Zika Virus.
- July 13 - Rubio chaired a subcommittee hearing to highlight Zika’s spread in the western hemisphere and the impact it is having on Florida and the U.S.
- July 28 - Rubio sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use the funds reprogrammed by the Administration to battle the Zika virus.
- July 29 - Rubio called on Congress to return to Washington to pass Zika funding.
- August 1 - Rubio repeated his calls for Congress to reconvene in Washington to address the Zika crisis.
- August 3 - Rubio held a press conference in Miami, Florida urging President Obama and Congress.
- August 4 - Rubio met with Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to discuss efforts to combat the Zika virus.
- August 5 - Rubio announced his intention to reintroduce legislation that would provide additional protections from Zika to U.S. military men and women.
- August 8 - Rubio urged Congress to return to Washington to pass anti-Zika funding.
- August 11 - Rubio commented on the Obama Administration’s decision to reprogram certain funds to fight Zika.
- August 19 - Rubio released a statement after the CDC issued a Zika warning for all of Miami-Dade County.
- August 24 - Rubio reiterated the need for federal funding after first non-travel related case of Zika in Pinellas County.
- August 27 - Rubio fact checked President Obama’s dishonesty on Zika policy.
- September 2 - Rubio called on the Senate to pass anti-Zika funding upon reconvening this week.
- September 6 - Rubio lambastes Senate Democrats after they blocked for a third time a vote on additional funding to fight Zika.
- September 6 - Rubio called out Senate Democrats for blocking the FY2017 defense appropriations bill, preventing action on Zika.
- September 6 - Rubio implored Congress to pass anti-Zika funding in his 9th Senate floor speech on the crisis.
- September 8 - Rubio introduced legislation to protect service members from Zika.
- September 8 - Rubio introduced the Small Business Relief from Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act which would ensure the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has the authority to make disaster loans available to communities negatively impacted by health-related travel advisories issued by the CDC.
- September 8 - Rubio delivered a floor speech demanding action on Zika days after Senate Democrats blocked funds.
- September 12- Rubio welcomed the announcement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that the Senate would move forward this week on a Continuing Resolution (CR) that would fund the government through December 9 and include additional money to fight the Zika virus in Florida.
- September 13 - Rubio met with Florida Governor Rick Scott in Washington to discuss the status of congressional action on anti-Zika funding.
- September 13, 2016 - Rubio delivered his 11th floor speech urging passage of the Continuing Resolution with Anti-Zika funding in it.