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

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill 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 McConnellTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill No signs of breakthrough for stalemated coronavirus talks State aid emerges as major hurdle to reviving COVID-19 talks 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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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 RyanTrump slams 'rogue' Sasse after criticism of executive actions Wary GOP eyes Meadows shift from brick-thrower to dealmaker Budowsky: Why I back Kennedy, praise Markey MORE (R-Wis.) with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellPence, Fauci to brief lawmakers on coronavirus Why Trump will win the wall fight Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue 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. 
 
 
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.