Florida Sen. Marco Rubio urged 33 of his Republican colleagues in the upper chamber to support President Barack Obama’s call for $1.9 billion in funding to fight the Zika virus.
The Senate had approved $1.1 billion in funding while GOP members in the House were calling for $622 million, which reallocates funding left over from the Ebola outbreak.
“As you know, I supported fully funding the fight against Zika with emergency funds to the amount of $1.9 billion, which was calculated by experts in federal public health agencies as the appropriate amount of funds to successfully protect the public health of our country against the imposing threat of Zika,” Rubio wrote in the letter sent Thursday. “I urge you to consider these specific requests as you negotiate the final legislation through this conference as quickly as possible.”
Rubio argued Florida and Puerto Rico will be hit the hardest, therefore he believes they need the funding as summer mosquito season reaches its full force.
The Senate is slated to vote on a larger spending bill, which includes funding for the virus, in the coming days.
Zika has been linked with serious birth defects and was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization earlier this year.
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