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

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary 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 McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval 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 NelsonRepublicans amp up attacks on Tlaib's Holocaust comments The muscle for digital payment Rubio says hackers penetrated Florida elections systems 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 storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 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 MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Senators unveil sweeping bipartisan health care package | House lawmakers float Medicare pricing reforms | Dems offer bill to guarantee abortion access Bipartisan senators reveal sweeping health care package Senate chairman says bipartisan health care package coming Thursday MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHit singer Andy Grammer says 'unity' more important than any political party Top GOP senator: 'More harassment than oversight' in House Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group 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.