Democrats want to spend a whopping $2 billion on zika virus prevention. Republicans are demanding more controls so Rubio is calling them stingy with federal dollars. Is this guy really a Republican?
Just two months after running as one of the conservative candidates in the GOP presidential race, Sen. Marco Rubio is now embracing Democrats’ calls to open the federal checkbook and dole out billions of dollars in money to combat the Zika virus — and tacking it onto the debt.
Mr. Rubio, whose home state of Florida is at risk of a serious outbreak, is co-sponsoring legislation to fully fund President Obama’s nearly $2 billion emergency spending request, and blasted his fellow Republicans for being too stingy by demanding more proof and more controls.
And Mr. Rubio, who is finishing out his first term then ditching the Senate at the end of this year, said if the new spending can be offset, that’s fine. But he’s also fine with tacking it onto the debt and leaving it for others to pay for.
“In times of public health emergencies, just like natural disasters, we shouldn’t delay acting while we figure out and try to agree on what we’re going to cut from other parts of the budget,” he said in a floor speech last week.
Mr. Rubio gives Democrats political cover as Congress prepares to fight this week over the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which health experts say hasn’t had a breakout in the U.S. yet, but fear one is looming as the summer heats up.
The House GOP released its own plan Monday that would allocate $622 million toward Zika, taking the money from existing Ebola money and elsewhere.
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