Senate Democrats block Zika funding; reaction from Florida
WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion Zika funding bill, complaining it was packed with partisan provisions.
Sen. Bill Nelson (voted against): “Four months after the request for emergency funding, the House in the dark of the middle of the night, with no opportunity for debate, puts on an otherwise uncontroversial bill, a bill to deal with the virus. It's not serious. Instead, it's another attempt to use an emergency must-pass bill to try to further extremist political agendas. Why can't we grow up and get to the point that we don't want to play partisan politics? We need to stop playing these political games. It's time to treat this as a real emergency and it's time to pass the appropriations bill without all of this political agenda added to it.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (voted for): “Shame on Washington for failing to pass Zika funding. We’ve been on top of this issue for five months, and it’s a failure of both parties in this town, including the President of the United States, that it’s taken this long to even get to this point. This total Washington leadership failure will have devastating consequences on those Americans already infected with Zika and many more who will become infected in the coming months. I realize this was not a perfect Zika bill, but getting this plan approved now is absolutely better than nothing. We need to get something done here, and we need to do it quickly." Rubio's office did not respond to a question about the issues Democrats raised.
GOP Senate candidate Carlos Beruff (campaign statement): "It’s been four months since a federal funding request to help fight Zika was sent to Congress. Marco’s had a lot to say on the subject – giving floor speeches and reiterating talking points during interviews – and yet Floridians still haven’t seen a dime from the federal government to help combat this threat. In the five years Marco Rubio has been in Washington he’s often found speaking eloquently on various issues in interviews and, when he’s not running for President, on the Senate floor. But Marco’s Washington talking points rarely translate into action."
UPDATE: In May, before Rubio was an opponent, Beruff said Congress needed to "listen to" Gov. Scott and Rubio.
Democratic Senate candidate Patrick Murphy: “This bill is a sad attack on women’s health disguised as a Zika response plan, yet Marco Rubio once again sided with Republicans in Washington over the people of Florida. The number of Zika cases in Florida and across the U.S. is increasing daily and it is unacceptable that Republicans are prioritizing partisan attacks on women’s health instead of fully addressing this crisis. Floridians and all Americans expect us to do our jobs and put their health and safety first. Florida women and families deserve better.”
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota: “Senate Democrats are voting against Zika funds in order to protect Obamacare money earmarked for Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. This is the very definition of partisan lunacy. Senator Harry Reid has put politics ahead of public health.”