Reid warns Dems will block Zika funding again

Haiyun Jiang

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday warned that Democrats will once again block Zika virus funding in an upcoming redo vote, signaling that lawmakers have made little progress on finding a compromise. 

“Republicans are no closer to getting serious about Zika. … This bad legislation will never pass and will never get a presidential signature,” the Senate Democratic leader said from the Senate floor.
 
“Senate Democrats rejected the outrageous Republican bill and will do so again.” 
 
{mosads}Democrats blocked a House-passed appropriations bill, which includes $1.1 billion in Zika funding, over concerns about how the bill is paid for. In addition to taking funding from the administration’s Ebola virus account, it also includes a provision preventing funding for Planned Parenthood. 
 
Democrats are demanding that Republicans punt the current agreement, which passed the House along a party-line vote, and negotiate a deal on funding for the virus.
 
Instead, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is bringing up the legislation again, as lawmakers face a tight timeframe to get a bill to President Obama’s desk before the summer recess. 
 
“We’ll give Democrats another opportunity to end their filibuster of funding that’s critical to controlling Zika and supporting our veterans,” he said Wednesday. 
 
Even if the Senate approved the legislation, the White House has pledged that Obama will veto it.
 
Reid reiterated a call for Republicans to delay the seven-week recess — expected to start at the end of next week — until they can get a deal on fighting the Zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes and can lead to a series of health problems for newborns. GOP leadership is showing no signs of considering that request.
 
“It’s no surprise that the party of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell refuse to address the threat posed by Zika,” Reid said. “For today’s Trump and McConnell’s Republicans, a public health crisis … disproportionately dangerous to women isn’t worth serious bipartisan action.” 
 
Democrats want Congress to pass something closer to the $1.1 billion Zika deal that previously passed the Senate. That funding wasn’t paid for, causing immediate backlash from House Republicans. 
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