© Greg Nash
Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a Democratic push to pass stand-alone legislation funding the federal response to the Zika virus.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynHouse passes bill to expedite financial disclosures from judges McConnell leaves GOP in dark on debt ceiling Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-Texas) first blocked a request from Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom line Voters need to feel the benefit, not just hear the message Schumer-McConnell dial down the debt ceiling drama MORE (D-Nev.) to pass a stand-alone bill to provide $1.9 billion to fight the Zika virus.
"Our Democratic colleagues won't take yes for an answer," the Texas Republican said, noting the Senate will pass Zika funding this week.
Senators are expected to attach $1.1 billion in Zika funding to an appropriations bill, but Democrats say that amount is not enough and warn it will take months to get the bill to the president's desk.
"It's a band-aid," Reid said. "There is no reason that I can understand that we don't have a piece of legislation on the floor."
He said he met with the White House Tuesday and "they desperately need this money."
Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-Wash.) also tried to get an agreement to pass a stand-alone bill based on the deal she reached with Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks up bright side beneath omicron's cloud GOP fears boomerang as threat of government shutdown grows MORE (R-Mo.) for $1.1 billion in Zika funding.
"There is no reason to keep it attached to this bill we're on and allow House Republicans to get it and slow walk it to the fall," Murray said.
Cornyn asked Murray if she would change her legislation to offset the Zika funding by taking money from the Affordable Care Act's prevention fund.
Murray objected to that request and Cornyn, in turn, blocked her from taking up funding as a stand-alone bill.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) tried to bring up his amendment to require the Senate's $1.1 billion in Zika funding to be paid for using unspent money from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development.
Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA spacewalk delayed due to debris threat This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Two trajectories to Mars by the 2030s MORE (D-Fla.) blocked his move, saying it would "raid money from these other pots that are already so important to the health and welfare of this country."
The rhetorical back-and-fourth on the Senate floor comes as the House unveiled legislation to provide $622 million to fight Zika.
Democrats and some Republicans have raised concerns over the House bill, setting the stage for a battle between the chambers.
Murray said House Republicans have released "an underfunded, partisan and frankly, in my opinion, mean-spirited bill."
- Updated at 3:53 p.m.