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Bipartisan U.S. Senate Negotiators Work Toward Deal On Zika Funding; House Remains Stalled

CNN: As Zika spreads, lawmakers search for deal on funding
“Bipartisan Senate negotiators reported progress Thursday on talks to boost funding to combat Zika, the dangerous mosquito-borne virus spreading across the Americas that can cause birth defects in children. But they remain apart on key points and a deal isn’t likely before next week at the earliest, senators from both parties told CNN…” (Barrett et al, 4/21).

The Hill: GOP chairman: Senate to vote on Zika funding in ‘near future’
“The Senate Appropriations Committee is planning to bring a major funding package for fighting the Zika virus to the floor of the Senate ‘in the near future,’ its chairman said Thursday. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) confirmed for the first time Thursday that committee members from both parties have been quietly working on an emergency funding bill to meet at least some of President Obama’s request on the Zika virus…” (Ferris, 4/21).

Reuters: Senators close to proposal on Zika funds: Republican committee chairman
“…Democrats and Obama administration officials have urged the Republican-controlled Congress to grant nearly $1.9 billion in emergency funds to combat Zika, a virus borne by mosquitoes that can cause microcephaly, a rare birth defect. But many Republicans have said they need more information from the administration before approving the measure…” (Cornwell, 4/21).

Roll Call: Senate Makes First Move on Zika Emergency Funding
“…Appropriators didn’t disclose how much money the package would contain. … Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., announced on the Senate floor Thursday that he and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would introduce legislation to fully fund the administration’s $1.9 billion request…” (McCrimmon, 4/21).

STAT: Senate closing in on deal to boost funding to combat Zika virus
“…The latest developments confirm that the Senate is taking a different path from the House, where the top Republican appropriators are still resisting the Obama administration’s call for $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funds, saying the administration hasn’t answered a series of detailed questions about how the money would be used…” (Nather, 4/21).

Washington Post: In the GOP House, Infant Lives probe accelerates while Zika funding request stalls
“…GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, say they are open to providing more funding for the Zika response once the Obama administration answers questions about its request. But their cautious approach in responding to the virus, now strongly linked to infant microcephaly, stands in contrast to the aggressive probe now being waged into fetal tissue procurement and research practices by the Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives. That disconnect has fueled Democratic attacks on both the funding impasse and the highly polarized fetal tissue investigation…” (DeBonis, 4/22).

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