Press Releases

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 10 - Rubio on CNN: Congress needs to act on Zika, Puerto Rico. 
  • 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 28 - Rubio sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use the funds reprogrammed by the Administration to battle the Zika virus. 
  • 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 19 - Rubio released a statement after the CDC issued a Zika warning for all of Miami-Dade County. 
  • 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.