Apparently some good came from Donald Trump’s drumming Marco Rubio out of the presidential race. Not only has the Florida senator left the campaign trail to go back to work, but strangely enough it looks like he also grew a spine. Yesterday he took to the Senate floor to chastise his fellow Republicans in both the House and Senate for their obstructionism over a bill meant to combat Zika virus.
Zika is scary and it also looks as if it’s definitely going to start showing up in the US this summer, possibly even at the level of an outbreak. In response, President Obama has proposed a bill to fund measures meant to treat Zika virus and fight the spread of the disease. Naturally enough, because Obama is behind the bill, Republicans oppose it by default even though by doing so they are putting the health of American children on the line. Rubio, whose home state will likely be ground zero for Zika, wasn’t having any part of his party’s usual obstructionism. Taking to the Senate floor, he admonished his colleagues for their lack of support:
‘I support fully funding the requests made, people say the president’s request. Fine, it came from the White House. But it’s really the scientists’ requests, the doctors’ requests, the public health sector’s requests for how to address this issue.’
In fact, Rubio is so desperate to protect American children from Zika virus that he asked his fellow senators to rely on the advice of scientists and experts:
‘Why take the chance that at some point this summer we could have a significant and serious outbreak in the United States of America, and everybody here is going to be back in their home state doing their campaign stuff or whatever you’re doing this summer, 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.’
Rubio then went on to admonish the House of Representatives for only approving a fraction of the bill’s proposed budget:
‘Why are we taking this chance? It makes absolutely no sense. I would also say that while I am happy that today, hopefully, the Senate is about to take action on this issue, I’m concerned about what I hear coming from the House…their funding measure isn’t even $1.1 billion. It’s $622 million. Quite frankly, that’s just not going to cut it.’
While Rubio happens to be on the right side of this issue, it’s pretty clear that his constituents wouldn’t let him get away with anything less. But that does nothing to detract from the fact that he’s right. Why would any elected official take a chance with the lives of American children? Watch the full speech below, courtesy of C-SPAN.
Featured Image via C-SPAN screengrab.