$1.1 billion Zika funding bill fails in Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNN) — The Senate rejected a $1.1 billion bill to combat the Zika virus Tuesday, failing to garner the 60 votes needed for passage.
Democratic Senators opposed provisions that would have blocked funding for Planned Parenthood and that would have allowed Confederate flags to fly at military veteran cemeteries.
Republicans added those provisions to the measure in June, along with spending cuts to help pay for the Zika bill, saying they are reasonable priorities that reflect their control of the House and Senate. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said Republicans had “loaded it up with poison pill riders to assuage the hard right.”
The bill garnered 52 votes Tuesday, eight shy of the number it needed.
“It’s hard to explain why – despite their own calls for funding – Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that could help keep pregnant women and babies safer from Zika,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “It’s also hard to explain why – despite the array of terror attacks we’ve seen across the world – Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that could help keep the American people safer from threats.”
The Zika threat hasn’t gripped the public nationwide as Ebola did two years ago, but pressure is building as dozens of mosquito-transmitted Zika cases have been confirmed in the political battleground state of Florida since lawmakers left Washington in July.
It’s the third time a federal Zika funding package has stalled amid a partisan fight. An earlier $670 million in repurposed funds earmarked to investigated the disease and develop a vaccine is running out.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.