Senate Democrats want new round of Zika talks

Senate Democrats are demanding a new round of talks about fighting the Zika virus ahead of a Tuesday vote on the current deal.
 
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “to express our deep disappointment at the inclusion of several poison pill riders.”
 
{mosads}”We are writing to urge your cooperation in quickly negotiating an agreement that rejects politicizing disaster response with extreme and unnecessary partisan priorities,” the Senate’s four top Democrats added in the letter. 
 
The Senate will take a procedural vote Tuesday on a House-passed deal to provide $1.1 billion to fight the Zika virus as part of a larger military and veterans spending bill. 
 
McConnell will need at least six Democrats to get the legislation over Tuesday’s hurdle, but Democrats have balked over supporting the conference report. 
 
The Democratic leaders said on Tuesday that Republicans used the conference report to pursue an “unrelated, extreme right-wing agenda.” 
 
In addition to taking money currently earmarked to fight the Ebola virus, the GOP bill would likely restart a fight over Planned Parenthood, because it includes language that prevents funding from going to it and other family planning groups.
 
Republican lawmakers have spent days trying to temper Democratic criticism, noting that that it will be impossible to get Zika funding to President Obama’s desk before the Fourth of July recess if the current agreement is blocked. 
 
“The House agreed to the funding level that Democrats supported unanimously,” McConnell said from the Senate floor on Monday. “The agreement before us is a compromise with input from both parties, and it represents the last chance we will have to address Zika for weeks.” 
Tags

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video