Senate passes broad spending bill with $1.1B in Zika funds

The Senate approved a broad appropriations bill Thursday, including $1.1 billion in Zika virus funds. 

Senators voted 89-8 on the merged Transportation-Housing and Urban Development, military construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill. The overwhelming vote came despite a veto threat from the White House.  

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GOP Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  MORE (Tenn.), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (Idaho), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (Ariz.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThis week: Senate starts infrastructure sprint Senators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet MORE (Utah), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries Up next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators MORE (Ky.), Jim RischJim Elroy RischTracy Stone-Manning's confirmation treatment was simply unacceptable — and it must stop The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (Idaho) and Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (Ala.) voted against the legislation. Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Five things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries MORE (I-Vt.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerTrump decries 'defund the police' after Boxer attacked Former Sen. Barbara Boxer attacked in California Bottom line MORE (D-Calif.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE (R-Texas) missed the vote.

The legislation includes more than $190 billion for military construction and veterans and more than $114 billion for transportation and housing programs.

Passage of the bill comes after senators agreed earlier Thursday to attach the Zika money to the spending bill, setting themselves up for a showdown with the House.

Democrats ultimately supported the move after being blocked from passing President Obama’s full $1.9 billion request earlier as part of the massive bill or as a separate piece of legislation.

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats consider scaling back new funds to fight next pandemic Tech executives increased political donations amid lobbying push Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up MORE (D-Wash.), who spearheaded the Zika proposal, said Thursday she was "disappointed that Republicans refused to work with us to fully fund the president's emergency supplemental proposal."

"It shouldn't have taken us so long to get to this point, but I am pleased that this will move us to a down payment," she said.

But the Zika money drew conservative ire because the costs weren't offset. The House’s $622 million in Zika money is partially paid for by reallocating funding originally meant to combat the Ebola virus.  

Senators also defeated a controversial amendment from Lee that would have defunded HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.

Lee warned the Obama administration’s regulation would have turned the federal government into a “national zoning board.”

“The Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule — which my amendment would defund — is equal parts condescension and willful blindness,” the Utah Republican said Thursday. “[It] is the epitome of the paternalism that informs so much of what happens in Washington, D.C. today.”

But Democrats warned that Lee’s amendment would undercut the federal government’s efforts to make sure housing isn’t based on things including race, gender or religion.

Instead, senators backed an amendment from Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGraham's COVID-19 'breakthrough' case jolts Senate The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate finalizes .2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Schumer: Democrats 'on track' to pass bipartisan deal, .5T budget MORE, which the Maine Republican said would help make sure HUD can’t be a “national zoning authority for every neighborhood in our country.”

The White House threatened this week to veto the legislation, which still needs to be merged with legislation from the House, if it reaches the president’s desk in its current form.

"The administration strongly objects to the inclusion of problematic ideological provisions that are beyond the scope of funding legislation," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement this week.

The legislation includes measures blocking the president from closing the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station or using funding to build alternative locations within the United States to house detainees.

Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsBob Dole, Pat Roberts endorse Kansas AG Derek Schmidt for governor Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Senate GOP faces retirement brain drain MORE (R-Kan.), a fierce critic of Obama’s plan to close the facility in Cuba, praised those restrictions.

“Although the clock may have run out on the president, I will continue to oppose his ongoing attempts to transfer the detainees at every opportunity,” he said in a statement.