Countering Senate Deal, Rubio, Nelson Offer Bipartisan Zika Deal Funding Obama’s Request

May 12, 2016

U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation field hearing Apalachicola on August 13, 2013.

A $1.1 billion deal may be on the table to help combat the Zika virus in Congress. But, it falls short of President Obama’s $1.9 billion request. Now, two Florida Senators say they’re working on a bipartisan deal that accomplishes that goal.

In a joint statement Thursday, U.S. Senators Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican, say they plan to attach the legislation to a military spending bill to fund the President’s full request.

Originally, Nelson had sponsored a similar bill. It had 35 cosponsors—all Democrats. Still, despite not signing off on that measure, Rubio spoke before the Senate several times in favor of the President’s request—as he did Wednesday.

“The moment to act has come because right now, we are facing right now here in Washington D.C. a debate about this issue about how much money we’re going to spend on it, and look, the President has proposed $1.9 billion to deal with it,” said Rubio, at the time.

Rubio and Nelson’s amendment to help fund ways to combat the mosquito-borne disease that also causes birth defects could be considered next week.

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