U.S. Senate blocks Zika funding bill

WASHINGTON - A deal for more funding to fight Zika has failed for a third time in Congress. 

The U.S. Senate failed to pass the bill as they return from a seven-week recess. 

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Late Tuesday, the Senate used its first vote since returning from recess to highlight that partisan battling over financing the battle against Zika remains as bitter as ever.

For the third time this year, Senate Democrats blocked a Republican measure to battle the virus. A 52-46 vote to advance the money fell short of the 60 votes needed as Democrats opposed provisions blocking Zika prevention and treatment money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico.

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Republicans called that a shaky excuse compared to the threat of the mosquito-carried Zika virus. No. 3 Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the GOP was using the bill "to assuage the hard right."

There have been dozens of Zika cases in the political battleground state of Florida. Tuesday's vote might prod Republicans to attach Zika money to temporary spending legislation.

Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement Tuesday after the vote:

“Due to Hurricane Hermine, I cancelled my scheduled trip to Washington D.C. where I was supposed to meet with members of Congress today on funding for Zika. I am disappointed a bill which included funding for the Zika virus died today in the Senate. The Zika virus is a national issue and demands immediate federal action. I hope Congress and the President quickly agree on funding to combat Zika so we can protect pregnant women and their growing babies who are most harmed by this virus.”

 

 

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