While it is not yet on the schedule, the Senate is expected to vote on a Zika funding bill before it breaks for recess at the end of the week, a GOP aide told The Daily Caller News Foundation Monday.
The legislation, which would provide $1.1 billion in funds for research on the virus, was previously shot down in a 52-48 vote in late June, coming in short of the 60 votes needed to advance. Democrats slammed the measure over language that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood and ease Environmental Protection Agency regulations, referring to additions to the bill as “poison pills.”
The Zika-Military Construction and Veterans Affairs package is a conference report, therefore cannot be amended under the rule. This could prove to once again be problematic for the GOP in getting it passed before Congress leaves for a lengthy break.
A number of top health officials expressed concern that if funding isn’t passed it could lead to major issues in the fight to stop the spread of the virus — which is linked to serious birth defects — as current funding levels are quickly drying up.
Senate Republicans slammed their colleagues across the aisle for failing to pass the measure the first time around, alleging they aren’t taking a potentially detrimental health crisis seriously. Democrats fired back saying the GOP is holding the bill hostage by adding provisions to further their political agenda.
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