Reid: McConnell 'stringing us along' on Zika
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment MORE (D-Nev.) ripped Republicans over a stalemate over funding to combat the Zika virus Tuesday, the latest sign the issue will likely be punted into the fall.  

"It’s clear that the Republican leader [Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump urges GOP to fight for him Senate Dems signal they'll support domestic spending package Trump's top picks for Homeland Security chief are ineligible for job: reports MORE] has been stringing us along. He never had any intention of coming back to the negotiating table," Reid said from the Senate floor. "Republicans have no desire to work with us ... now, or any time in the future. It’s all been a charade." 
 
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Reid's comments came after Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonBottom Line Bottom Line Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity MORE (D-Fla.) and McConnell tried to resurrect dueling Zika funding proposals. Both were blocked for the second time this week. 
 
McConnell is expected to try to pass the same legislation again, a deal with the House to provide $1.1 billion to fight the virus. 
 
The Kentucky senator has said for weeks that the agreement is the only path to passing legislation this month.
 
With Democrats objecting to the agreement because of how it's paid for and a provision blocking funding for Planned Parenthood, it's expected to fail to get the 60 votes needed to move forward. Even if the Senate passed the measure, the White House says it would be vetoed.
 
Reid noted Tuesday that the administration had tried to set up a meeting for McConnell and House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.) with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellWhy Trump will win the wall fight Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill MORE and Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE, the director of the Office and Management and Budget, but the Republican leaders declined. 
 
McConnell told reporters Tuesday that he has spoken with Burwell and President Obama and told them that the conference report "is not amendable. What the Senate Democrats are trying to do will not achieve an outcome." 
 
Reid has also spoken with McConnell on separating the Zika funding bill from a larger veterans and military construction spending bill to move it as a stand-alone measure, but he said McConnell was noncommittal. 
 
McConnell has repeatedly argued that re-passing the Senate's bill — spearheaded by Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Biz groups say Warren labor plan would be disaster Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntSenate GOP braces for impeachment trial 'roller coaster' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (R-Mo.) — is a nonstarter because it's won't pass the House. 
 
House Republicans balked at the original Senate deal because it isn't paid for. Lawmakers have only a few days to try to break the current stalemate on Zika funding before they leave Washington for a seven-week recess.