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Rubio Urges Senate to Pass Emergency Citrus Response
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement today after the U.S. House of Representatives voted 400-20 yesterday to pass the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act (H.R. 3957), which Rubio cosponsored in the Senate in May.
“Now that the House has voted overwhelmingly to pass the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act, it’s time for the Senate to do the same next week. We need to get this bill to the president’s desk as soon as possible, so we can help our citrus growers deal with this disease that is decimating their crops.”
Timeline of Rubio’s work to combat citrus greening and support Florida’s citrus producers:
- July 21, 2016 – Rubio toured a citrus grove in Central Florida with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and called on Senate leaders to support legislation helping growers affected by citrus greening.
- July 21, 2016 – Rubio and U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) sent a letter to Senate leaders urging them to make citrus greening a priority.
- May 26, 2016 – Rubio cosponsored the Emergency Citrus Disease Response Act (S. 2346), saying, “Eighty percent of the citrus trees have been infected. … [This bill] would allow growers to immediately expense the cost of planting new citrus trees instead of the standard 14-year depreciation [process].”
- March 5, 2016 – Rubio welcomed the EPA’s decision to grant Florida’s request for the use of antimicrobials on diseased citrus trees.
- February 8, 2016 – Rubio’s office held a briefing with the EPA and Florida delegation staff, and pressed for a timely decision regarding the application of antimicrobials to combat greening.
- December 16, 2015 – Rubio supported Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s petition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to grant an emergency exception to use up to three antimicrobials on diseased citrus plants in the fight against greening.
- May 28, 2015 – The Tampa Tribune reported that as a result of the free trade agreement with South Korea, Florida natural juice sales increased from $4 million to $40 million in three years, and sales of fresh grapefruit increased from $1 million to nearly $5 million in the same period.
- Early 2014 – Rubio visited South Korea, where he pressed officials there on a tariff that was harming Florida orange juice producers. Upon returning home, Rubio helped fast-track a solution by urging South Korean Ambassador Ahn Ho-young and his colleagues to tour Florida facilities and resolve their concerns, which they did a month later. As the Orlando Sentinel reported on April 26, 2014, “A tariff dispute between the U.S. and South Korea over frozen orange juice concentrate was quietly resolved…”