Healthcare

GOP senator: Zika funding could move this week

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Senate Republicans could move forward with new funding to fight the Zika virus as soon as this week, according to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).

{mosads}Blunt, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee health subcommittee, told Bloomberg News that a $1.1 billion Zika funding amendment could be added to a spending bill on the Senate floor this week. 

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), his Democratic counterpart on the health subcommittee, has been negotiating the funding deal with him. 

“Patty Murray and I are prepared to offer our Zika amendment when we get on the bill,” Blunt told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. 

The White House and congressional Democrats have been pressuring Republicans to act to approve funding to fight Zika. 

The White House is still pushing for its full $1.9 billion request. 

The path in the House is also unclear, as some Republican lawmakers there have resisted giving new funding to the administration. The House Appropriations committee has said it is seeking more answers from the administration about where the money would go before acting. 

Still, pressure is rising as the weather warms and as the virus transmission is expected to ramp up, and some Republicans, notably Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), have backed the full White House funding request. 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), in Washington to push for Zika funding, told reporters Wednesday that he wants the full $1.9 billion but would be content with the $1.1 billion number he has “heard” around Capitol Hill. 
 
“I would love to make sure we have $1.9 billion as long as it’s spent on Zika,” he said. “I’m a fiscal conservative; there would need to be safeguards.”
 
This post was updated at 5:57 p.m.
Tags Marco Rubio Patty Murray Roy Blunt
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