McConnell pledges redo vote on Zika after break

Moriah Ratner
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned lawmakers Tuesday they would vote again on a $1.1 billion package to fight the Zika virus after their July Fourth recess. 
 
“I’d like to call on my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to think about this, to think about where they have left this issue for the American people,” McConnell said from the Senate floor Tuesday. “So when we get back after we’ve had some time to think about it all, we’ll address this matter again.”  
 
{mosads}On Tuesday Senate Democrats blocked the Zika funding — attached to a larger military spending bill — from overcoming a procedural hurdle.
 
Arguing they weren’t consulted on the current House-Senate deal, Democrats balked at how the agreement would offset its costs.
 
McConnell was one of three Republicans who voted against the deal during Tuesday’s vote, allowing him to bring it up again.
 
GOP senators quickly blasted their colleagues for being unable to find a deal to fight the virus heading into the summer months.
Zika has been shown to cause severe birth defects when contracted by pregnant women, and health officials are expecting more cases in the U.S. as mosquito populations grow.
 
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who announced last week that he would run for reelection, said “shame on Washington.” 
 
“I realize this was not a perfect Zika bill, but getting this plan approved now is absolutely better than nothing,” he said. 
 
But Democrats are giving no early indication the holiday recess will be enough to make them reconsider the current House-Senate conference deal on Zika funding.
 
“What we want them to do is negotiate. We’re willing to compromise,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said after Tuesday’s vote. “What they’re doing is going to kill any chance” of passing an anti-Zika measure. 
 
Asked about next steps, Schumer said Republicans need “to get rid of this cynical sham bill and start negotiating with us.” 
 
Schumer, Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), and Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) have sent a letter to McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) asking for a new round of talks. 
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