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Marco Rubio says Congress should immediately 'fully fund' the fight against Zika


Marco Rubio says Congress should immediately 'fully fund' the fight against Zika

WATCH: Florida senator Marco Rubio calls Zika a 'significant threat' that needs immediate funding to fight against

Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is in a tight race for his Senate re-election, said Zika is a top national security concern for both his state and the country.

Rubio said his top priority is getting the funding needed to combat the growing crisis of the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitos and can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus, according to the CDC. Currently 25 people in Rubio's home state are infected with Zika and those numbers are expected to grow, CDC officials said.

'Taken far too long'

"One of the most important things we can do, I hope we'll do immediately, is fully fund the fight against Zika. This is a significant threat that I've been talking about now for months. Began talking about it in January. Even in the midst of the presidential campaign.

"It's taken far too long to get to that point, and I hope we'll make that a priority."

Funding battle

On Thursday the Obama administration said it was shifting $81 million from biomedical research and antipoverty to fund research for the development of a vaccine to combat the Zika virus.

There are more than 7,350 cases of Zika in the U.S., the majority of which are in Puerto Rico, according to the CDC. Obama and Republicans have been in a battle over the funding.

The president requested $1.9 billion to fight the virus and the house deadlocked on funding the bill, when Republicans questioned where the money was going.

House Speaker Paul Ryan's response to the new Zika funding. 

Support for Trump

Rubio said this election year is going to be a crucial one for the country.

The young former presidential hopeful, who spoke to Circa in Orlando, also re-affirmed his support for the Republican nominee Donald Trump, saying Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would put the nation on the wrong path and fail in selecting the appropriate Supreme Court justice to fill the vacancy left after Judge Antonin Scalia passed away.

Marco Rubio says Congress should immediately 'fully fund' the fight against Zika

WATCH: Marco Rubio fully supports Donald Trump

'I wanted it to be a different way'

He admitted his disappointment in not achieving the nomination but said he fully supports Republican nominee Donald Trump.

"Donald was not appointed Republican nominee, he was elected by the voters -- I wanted it to be a different way," said Rubio, who had just spoken at the American Renewal Project, a Christian evangelical-based conference. The event garnered some negative publicity when opponents of the group protested that the conference was anti-LGBT.

Marco Rubio says Congress should immediately 'fully fund' the fight against Zika

WATCH: Rubio concerned about Clinton and Justice Scalia replacement

Looking for a Supreme Court justice like Scalia

Rubio said he disagreed with Trump on a number of issues, "but I disagree with Hillary on virtually every issue. The most immediate one I disagree with her is on the Supreme Court. We have a vacancy that needs to be filled; Justice Scalia tragically passed away," Rubio said.

He said the vacancy needs to be filled with a Supreme Court justice that represents the same values upheld by Scalia.

Letter: Trump 'most reckless' in U.S. history

"I do not believe that there is any chance what-so-ever that Hillary Clinton would replace Scalia, with someone like Scalia. Donald Trump committed to doing that. And that alone has given many people reason to consider his candidacy."

Still, Trump has felt the wrath of some Republicans, as much as he has from his Democratic foes. Over the past month, a letter signed by 50 former national security officials, all who served under Republican presidents, warned that a Trump presidency would be "the most reckless in American history."

Not sure Trump's rhetoric 'fatal'

Rubio said this type of rhetoric is not helpful to Trump's campaign but "I'm not sure that it's fatal."

"I acknowledge if Donald is elected president, if he does things that I agree with we'll work with him and be supportive and if he doesn't I'll stand up to those things and oppose them," said Rubio. "But I guarantee if Hillary is elected I'll spend all of my time opposing her agenda, because it's way out of line with what I think is needed for our country."

People have been expressing concern regarding Zika funding for weeks.

$81 million shift in funds

The Obama administration began financing the battle against Zika yesterday after Congress failed to agree on a funding plan for fighting the virus before adjourning for the summer.

Approximately $81 million allocated to biomedical research, antipoverty programs and healthcare programs has been shifted to searching for a cure.

As of last week, more than 7,000 cases of Zika have been reported in the U.S., mostly in Puerto Rico.

Planned Parenthood 'poison pill'

The money from the White House will fund research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

Democrats and Republicans in Congress have disagreed for months over the issue of Zika funding. In July, Democrats blocked a Republican bill that allocated $1.1 billion to fighting the virus, but also stipulated that the funds could not be used by Planned Parenthood to provide contraception related to the virus, which can be transmitted sexually. 

What the government is spraying to kill Zika mosquitos might be hurting you

For more news of the day, check out our 60 Second Circa above.

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