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After Rejecting Nelson-Rubio Zika Funding Deal, US Senators Advance $1.1B Proposal

James Gathany
CDC/MGN Online

The U.S. Senate has voted down a bipartisan amendment authored by two Florida Senators. It didn't get enough of the required 60 votes needed to move forward. But, Senators did approve another bipartisan proposal much closer to the President’s funding request than what the House proposed.

On Tuesday, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio’s proposal was called up for consideration. Rubio says the $1.9 billion dollar figure was not just a funding request from the President, but scientists and health professionals as well. Still, their proposal got voted down.

Rubio says moving forward, he’ll support the $1.1 billion proposal that did pass, since it was in his words, “better than nothing.”

But, he says he hopes Congress doesn’t have to come back to readdress this issue during the Summer, should there be a significant Zika outbreak in the U.S.

“And you're going to have to come back here and either deal with it and explain to people why, when doctors and medical experts were warning us that this was a significant risk, we decided to lowball it, we decided to spend less than what's being called for,” said Rubio.

Rubio says he’s also concerned over the House’s proposal of $622 million. So is Senator Nelson.

“That’s nowhere near what we need,” said Nelson. “Such a figure is not only absurd, it’s an insult to the men and women who are on the frontlines that are trying to battle this virus.”

The House proposal is expected to be taken up Wednesday. Along with 120 House Democrats, North Florida Congresswoman Gwen Graham—who has filed a bill with the $1.9 billion figure—sent a letter to the House speaker asking him to consider her bill. Meanwhile, President Obama has threatened to veto the House Republicans’ proposal. With three more cases reported Tuesday, Florida now has 116 Zika cases.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.