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VIDEO: Rubio: Obama Should Use Unspent Zika Funds, Congress Should Go Back To Washington To Approve Zika Funding
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio addressed the news of the first four Zika cases transmitted by mosquitoes, all in Florida, at a media availability in Doral this morning.
A partial transcript is below. For TV stations interested in airing portions of Rubio’s media availability, you may contact Miami affiliates and news partners who covered it.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Media Availability On The Zika Virus
July 29, 2016
Senator Marco Rubio: “I have been warning of this since January of this year, really ratcheting it up in March. I have been saying as late as yesterday that it wasn’t a question of if – it was a question of when. We now know that there are mosquitoes in the state of Florida that are carrying the Zika virus and four Floridians have been infected. This problem will only get worse, not better, unless we get ahead of it.
“This is why I supported the President’s request for $1.9 billion. This is why I supported the bipartisan compromise the Senate passed of $1.1 billion. This is why I supported the House-Senate compromise of $1.1 billion. This is why I have voted in favor of every single Zika proposal that has come before Congress because the time to act is now. We have waited far too long. It should have never gotten to this point.
“Now, there is about $300 million of funds available to the federal government right now. And earlier this week, I wrote the President a letter and I asked him to fully spend the money he already has access to. Don’t hold it back to play political games. Zika is not a partisan issue. It is not a political issue. Zika doesn’t just bite Republicans or Democrats or Independent – it bites everyone. This is not a partisan issue. It is mosquitoes! It is going to get worse – we are now in the middle of the summer.
“There are things that people need to be doing to protect themselves. When you go out make sure you are covered. Make sure you are using the mosquito repellant. Make sure you don’t have untreated bodies of water, puddles, and other things around your home that encourage mosquito breeding. This is not a game. And Zika isn’t just a threat to pregnant women and unborn children, which is a serious enough threat as it is. It has now been linked to guillain barré, a very serious central nervous condition that often proves fatal. The time to act is now. We have waited far too long. I believe Congress should go back to Washington as soon as possible and approve additional funding to deal with this issue before it becomes a full-blown crisis.
“It is an economic problem. Tourism, and the congressman touched upon this, is one of our leading industries. Whether it is people coming here to visit the beach, people coming here to leave on a cruise or people going to Central Florida to Disney World or Universal Studios.
“I promise you that this morning, as this news gets out, that there are mosquitoes in Florida infecting people with Zika. It has the potential to have a real impact on our tourist sector as visitors begin to reconsider whether to come here. I don’t want them to reconsider.
“The fact of the matter is if you come to Florida and take the steps necessary you will be fine, you will be okay. But I want also to recognize that why this issue is so important – it is a public health crisis but it is also an economic threat to our state.”