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U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy

Congress returns from a two-month summer recess Tuesday and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy laid out his to-do list.

Among the items: Keep up the steady stream of criticism aimed at Republican rival Marco Rubio.

&;This is probably Marco Rubio&;s least favorite day of the year,&; said the Jupiter Democrat, in his second term in the U.S. House. &8220;He&8217;s got to go back to the Senate &; a place that he says he hates. A place where he doesn&8217;t think he has enough power to solve problems.&8221;

By contrast, Murphy said he is eager to move forward with the White House&8217;s pitch to approve $1.9 billion in funding to fight the Zika virus, enact tougher gun restrictions, and steer more dollars toward easing the algae outbreak on &8217;s Treasure Coast.

Of course, all of these major issues have languished since lawmakers broke camp in July. And few signs of developing agreement, it&8217;s possible Republicans and Democrats continue their deadlock past the November elections.

Rubio&8217;s side revived their criticism of Murphy for having voted against Zika funding measures in the House &8212; where Republicans have put a number of contentious proposals on the table.

Rubio in May joined with Florida Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to introduce a $1.9 billion funding proposal that basically mirrored what the Obama administration sought. Rubio and several Florida Republicans also have urged their leadership to advance a deal to fight the outbreak.

But efforts have gone nowhere.

Olivia Perez-Cubas, a Rubio campaign spokeswoman, said Murphy is out to &8220;exploit this public health and economic emergency.&8221;