Senate Returns From Seven-Week Vacation, Blocks Zika Funding Again
A deal for more funding to fight Zika failed for the third time in Congress.
The Short of It: The Senate is back from their seven-week recess to vote on some serious stuff. The first bill they voted on is for Zika funding. Spoiler alert: they voted against it.
The Longer Version of It: This is the third time this bill has gone to Congress and failed. Senate Democrats are to blame this time, for voting against the $1.1 billion plan to fight Zika. They are demanding that Republicans drop all efforts to block Planned Parenthood from receiving money to combat mosquito-borne diseases. Essentially, Republicans want to get things passed, and Dems want to make sure mommies and babies affected by Zika at Planned Parenthood are also getting money and care.
The vote was 52 to 46, and Republicans needed 60 votes to advance the bill, but the Dems said, "uh nope."
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican majority leader, told the NY Times that although efforts to fight the virus were close to getting the funding, the fight in Congress is far from over.
"It's hard to explain why, despite their own calls for funding, Democrats would block plans to keep women and babies safe from Zika," Mr. McConnell said before the vote.
The Takeaway: Basically, the Dems don't want to pass it because of the PP block, and the GOP doesn't want to give into that. The Senate is going to have to find some middle ground on this otherwise Zika funding is going to take some time to get.