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Marco Rubio calls for lawmakers to pass Zika funding bill

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Marco Rubio said Congress should immediately pass a bill to help combat the spread of Zika when it returns to work next month.

“Our job is to make sure the funding is available to not only fight Zika, but to get a vaccine,” said Rubio during a stop in Fort Myers on Wednesday.

Rubio said House and Senate leaders should have called lawmakers back to Washington, D.C. to approve a Zika funding bill.

The Senate passed a bipartisan $1.1 billion funding package earlier this year, much higher than the version passed by the House. House budget negotiators came to an agreement that would set aside $1.1 billion, but came with strings attached. That bill was blocked by Senate Democrats, who accused Republicans of playing politics.

Rubio said he has supported every funding proposal that has come before the Senate, and was an early supporter of President Barack Obama’s $1.9 billion funding package. Rubio said he asked the president to use the $300 million diverted from other programs to help fight Zika.

The Miami Republican’s comments came as another case of locally acquired Zika was discovered in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that a locally acquired case had been discovered in Palm Beach County.

Scott called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to send 5,000 antibody tests to Florida. So far, the CDC has sent less than 1,200 tests to the Sunshine State.

“It is disappointing that these requests have not been fulfilled. Florida now has 43 cases of locally acquired Zika and the Obama Administration must quickly fulfill our entire request so that we can continue to provide the resources our state needs to combat this virus,” said Scott in a statement.

There are 636 cases of Zika in Florida. That number includes 43 locally acquired cases and 70 infections involving pregnant women.

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