The conservative group Heritage Action is calling for any emergency Zika funding to be fully paid for with spending cuts, a new wrinkle in the showdown over spending on the virus.
Heritage Action has seized on the news that the Senate appears close to a deal on emergency funding to fight the virus. The group sent a letter to the heads of the Appropriations Committee suggesting a list of offsets that could be used for Zika funding.
The suggested offsets, such as eliminating funding for the Paris climate change agreement or cutting Environmental Protection Agency programs, would go nowhere with Democrats.
“As you consider the Obama administration’s funding request to respond to the Zika virus, we urge you to reaffirm the importance of prioritizing federal spending,” the letter states. “Every day, all across the country, Americans are faced with difficult financials decisions that require sacrifice and prioritization. Lawmakers should hold themselves to the same standard.”
Heritage Action adds that its first choice would be to avoid using emergency funds at all, and instead redirect existing spending.
The White House has been pressuring congressional Republicans to act on its $1.9 billion request for funds related to items like vaccine research and mosquito control.
A deal in the Senate appears close. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Bottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future MORE (R-Miss.) said Thursday that Zika funding would come to the Senate floor “in the near future.”
House Republicans say that they still need more details from the administration about where the funding would go before they act.