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

Senate Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidFeinstein departure from top post sets stage for Judiciary fight Whitehouse says Democratic caucus will decide future of Judiciary Committee Bottom line 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 McConnellAs Biden administration ramps up, Trump legal effort drags on Harris says she has 'not yet' spoken to Pence Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year 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 NelsonThe Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots The Hill's Morning Report - Biden inches closer to victory Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 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 RyanPaul Ryan calls for Trump to accept results: 'The election is over' Bottom line Democratic anger rises over Trump obstacles to Biden transition MORE (R-Wis.) with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellWhat a Biden administration should look like Bogeymen of the far left deserve a place in any Biden administration The swamp wasn't drained — it expanded MORE and Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanJacobin Editor-at-Large: Valerie Jarrett's support for Citigroup executive's mayoral campaign 'microcosm' of Democrats' relationship with Wall Street Citigroup executive to run for NYC mayor: report House Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan 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.