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Rubio: Congress Must Fund the Fight Against Zika When it Reconvenes Tuesday

Sep 2, 2016 | Press Releases

Miami, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement today regarding the urgent need to fund the fight against Zika when Congress reconvenes Tuesday:
“As we head into Labor Day weekend and Congress prepares to reconvene in Washington on Tuesday, people in both parties need to think long and hard about the work that awaits us in September regarding the Zika virus.
“As of this moment, we have nearly 17,000 Americans infected with Zika. That includes 696 in my home state, and 13,791 American citizens in Puerto Rico. In total, 624 expectant mothers are concerned about their unborn children and the risks of Zika-related birth defects. And to date, 16 precious babies have been born in the U.S. with Zika-related complications such as microcephaly.
“These are not statistics, they are real people. And they don’t even tell the full story of Zika’s impact on our country, given that many women are putting off having children because of it, pregnant women who have not contracted the virus live with the worry that they might, and our economy, businesses, and workers are feeling the effect of tourists postponing trips to Florida.
“I will continue to support legislation that will fund the fight against Zika, just as I have voted for every single bill that’s come up in the Senate so far. I will do so again on Tuesday, but Congress should be prepared to pass a Zika funding measure as part of whatever spending bill ultimately passes to fund the government beyond September 30.
“I will also reintroduce legislation to better protect our servicemembers at home and abroad from Zika. And if Democrats do not block the defense appropriations bill, I will offer an amendment to combat Zika through existing Department of Defense health and medical research budgets.
“As Congress reconvenes Tuesday, I have a simple message for both parties: Zika is not a political game. It is about people’s lives, and we have a duty to do everything we can to solve this problem immediately.”
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said this week the agency will run out of funding to combat Zika by the end of September.
Yesterday, for the first time, mosquitoes in the continental U.S. were confirmed to be carrying Zika.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released yesterday: 

  • “About half of the public (48 percent) say that they would be ‘not too’ or ‘not at all’ comfortable traveling to places in the U.S., like parts of Florida, where people have been infected with Zika by mosquitoes.” 
  •  “Thirty-six percent of the public say that passing new funding to deal with the outbreak in the U.S. should be a top priority, with an additional 40 percent saying it should be an important but not a top priority.”