House Dems lining up against Senate Zika bill

The head of the House Democratic Caucus warned Tuesday that he’ll oppose anything less than the full funding President Obama has requested to combat the Zika virus. 
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said both the House’s $622 million bill and the Senate’s $1.1 billion proposal are insufficient to address the escalating crisis. 
{mosads}”I would not support inadequate funding to deal with the healthcare catastrophe that could develop if we do not tackle the Zika virus in the right way,” Becerra told reporters in the Capitol.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the House minority leader, has sounded a similar warning in recent weeks, saying she also opposes both chambers’ bills. 
“I don’t support the Senate initiative either, because it’s not enough,” Pelosi told reporters Thursday. “They said it’s half a loaf. No, it’s half a shoe. You cannot get to where you need to be with half a shoe.”
The comments arrive as Democrats aim to maximize their leverage in the fight over Zika funding. In February, Obama requested $1.9 billion for research, treatment and prevention measures, but Republicans in both chambers have rejected that figure as too high.
The $622 million House bill, passed last Wednesday, provides Zika funding through September. The Senate’s $1.1 billion proposal, passed on Thursday, runs a year longer.
House Republican leaders are emphasizing the timeline distinction to fend off the criticisms of the House bill. 
“We actually don’t disagree very much about the amount of money,” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said last week, adding that the House will provide further funding in the future.
But such arguments have done little to appease Democrats, who are going after Republicans for slashing taxes and funding wars while resisting more upfront funding to fight Zika.
“This is a life-threatening issue … [and] we need to put every possible resource in the field to stop this crisis,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), vice chairman of the Democratic caucus. 
“There’s no question of funding when it comes to war. … We will spend whatever we need to do to end the crisis,” he added. 
“You don’t solve problems being tepid, you solve problems being bold, and expending the resources that are needed to end the crisis. And that’s not what the Republicans are doing right now.”
Tags Xavier Becerra Zika virus
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