Senate sets up Zika vote

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is turning the Senate toward a fight over funding to combat the Zika virus. 

McConnell on Thursday filed cloture on the House-Senate deal on a military and veterans funding bill, which includes the Zika money. The move sets up a procedural vote for next week. 
 
{mosads}The House passed the $1.1 billion for Zika funding early Thursday morning over the protest of Democrats, who were waging a sit-in to demand votes on gun control. 
 
But Senate Democrats argue the House-Senate agreement is all but doomed to fail in the upper chamber, where it will need support from Democrats to be sent to President Obama’s desk. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the GOP-backed deal a “disgrace.” 
 
“It’s a mockery of how Congress should treat an emergency,” he said from the Senate floor Wednesday. “This is something that I’m sorry to say is part of the McConnell-Trump tactics we’ve found lately.” 
 
The Senate previously passed $1.1 billion in funding to combat the Zika virus, but Senate Democrats have denounced how the House-Senate compromise pays for the bill. 
 
In addition to taking money currently earmarked to fight the Ebola virus, the GOP bill would also likely restart a fight over Planned Parenthood because it includes language that prevents funding from going to it and other family planning groups. 
 
Democratic opposition is throwing the Zika funding package into flux, making it increasingly likely Congress won’t be able to get an agreement to Obama’s desk by the July 4 recess. 
 
McConnell tried to temper Democratic criticism earlier Thursday, arguing the current deal “represents our only chance to put Zika control money to work right now.”
 
“The House did its part. Now the Senate needs to do its part,” he added. 
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