Marco Rubio Questioned on Zika Funding - or Lack Thereof

By Lucas Seiler

Senator Marco Rubio was in Lee County where we asked him what he's doing to secure Zika funding for Florida.

Congress is deadlocked over crucial Zika funding while Florida scrambles to prevent outbreaks. 

"I was the first Republican in the whole Congress that came out in favor of President Obama's $1.9 billion request," said Senator Marco Rubio. 

That was in February, and included money for a vaccine. Shortly after that, a $1 billion bill failed in the Senate after Democrats accused Republicans of adding politically fueled amendments that limited birth control and Confederate flag bans.

Since then, the crisis has spiraled. 

"I think the easiest way forward to just bring back up the Senate bill that was bipartisan and pass it. We should be able to do that very quickly," said Rubio.

Rubio will need to convince his fellow Republicans in other states that the threat is a serious one. Despite, Rubio saying he would support being called back from recess early to vote, it's unlikely that will happen.   

"I still think there are a significant number of colleagues from around the country that just don't view this as their problem. They view this as something happening in one state but not something that will impact them," said Rubio. 

Politicians aren't the only ones holding that view. They claim the $1.9 billion would be a waste. 

"Every year it is a different epidemic. It was the swine flu, mad cow disease. It was this. It was that. They're always putting the fear factor in someone aren't they?" said Patty Fox of Fort Myers. 

"I don't think they should be spending the money on that," said Rachel Hendricks, visiting Fort Myers.

Meanwhile, Rubio's Senate rival Patrick Murphy is criticizing him after saying women infected with Zika shouldn't be able to get abortions and should be forced to have children that may have birth defects. 

The senator did not want to expand on that today.

"I wanna cure Zika, and I want to prevent its spread. That question has nothing to do with preventing Zika from spreading," said Rubio. 

Rubio, while he supports Republican nominee Donald Trump, has broken from his party by agreeing with the Obama Administration for major federal funding. It also placed him in an awkward position as he is stressing on Donald Trump to be more outspoken about Zika.