Important Benefits Of Zika Bill
Democrats say top GOP lawmakers are proposing to partially fund President Barack Obama’s request for money to fight the Zika virus. Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a federal spending bill that would have provided $1.1 billion to fight the mosquito borne Zika virus.
The stalemate, accompanied by a sharp war of words on the Senate floor, raised the prospect that the partisan divide in Congress was hindering the government’s ability to respond effectively to a pressing public health emergency.
The move raised the possibility that no new money would be available soon to fight the disease as Southern states brace for a summer outbreak.
Democrats were willing to go along with the Senate version, but in talks controlled strictly by Republicans, House and Senate negotiators agreed last week to provide $1.1 billion, with $750 million in cuts and policy changes.
Even as officials brace for the arrival in the continental United States of mosquitoes carrying Zika, the Obama administration does have some flexibility in reapportioning funds among different health programs in addition to the nearly $600 million already taken from Ebola programs while waiting for Congress to act.