Senate Fails To Advance Zika Funding Measure For Third Time; Many Hope Compromise Can Be Reached In Stopgap Spending Bill

CNN: Senate resumes gridlock as Zika funding vote fails
“The top Republican and Democratic Senate leaders returned from their seven-week summer recess Tuesday and picked up where they left off in July — harshly blaming the other’s party for inaction on critical bills to battle Zika and fund the government. In a pair of votes, Democrats blocked taking up GOP bills to pay for a public health response to the virus and to fund the Pentagon next year leaving in doubt Congress’ ability to pass either bill…” (Barrett, 9/6).

The Hill: Senate blocks Zika funding
“A divided Senate on Tuesday again rejected a funding bill to fight the Zika virus … In a 52-46 procedural vote, the Senate failed to win the 60 votes necessary to move forward and end debate on a conference report with the House on the issue. Democrats nearly unanimously voted to block the $1.1 billion funding bill, which was approved by House Republicans in June but has now failed three times in the Senate because of divisive language targeting Planned Parenthood…” (Ferris, 9/6).

The Hill: Rubio: Drop Planned Parenthood fight to approve Zika funding
“The Senate GOP’s top advocate for Zika funding said Tuesday the best chance of getting money out the floor this month is by attaching it to the must-pass government spending bill. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is endorsing a plan to save the much-disputed public health package by wrapping it into the stopgap spending bill that’s due in Congress by Sept. 30…” (Ferris, 9/6).

Huffington Post: Congress Resumes With Another Zika Failure
“…While federal health officials juggled money around to keep the most vital Zika efforts running, they have warned that money is set to run out by the end of the month. At some point, Congress will have to give up the partisan provisions or let the entire Zika response lapse, even while mosquito season continues in large parts of the country…” (McAuliff, 9/6).

Morning Consult: Dozens of Health Groups Renew Push for Bipartisan Zika Funding
“More than 50 health advocacy organizations welcomed congressional leaders back to town Tuesday by renewing their calls for a bipartisan Zika package. The groups, including the March of Dimes, the Sierra Club, Research!America, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, are calling for Congress to move past the political fight that has dogged the government’s response over the past several months and pass a package that can pass both chambers and be signed by President Obama. … A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released last week found that 36 percent of Americans believed Congress passing funding for the Zika virus should be a top priority for Congress, while an additional 40 percent say it’s an important, but not top, priority…” (McIntire, 9/6).

Mother Jones: Congress Is Running Out of Time to Pass Zika Funding
“…International aid was a major component of the White House’s original [Zika funding] proposal: Out of a total $1.9 billion in Zika funding, more than $500 million would have gone abroad, says Adam Wexler, director of the Global Health Budget Project at the Kaiser Family Foundation. That amount has shrunk considerably in the bills now circulating in Congress, but it still includes funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development, the State Department, and international CDC programs. Without a detailed plan, it is hard to say what the impact of U.S. aid would be. In a huge and comparatively wealthy country like Brazil, for example, U.S. funding would make little difference. But according to Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at Kaiser, some cash-strapped nations would certainly benefit from the support. ‘In a country like Haiti … it might make a big difference,’ Michaud said…” (D’Amora, 9/6).

New York Times: Senate Democrats Block Zika Bill Over Planned Parenthood Provisions
“…Because of the standoff, lawmakers say they expect to address the funding issue by the end of the month as part of a must-pass, stopgap spending measure. That legislation would be intended to keep the government funded because it seems increasingly likely that Congress will not pass its annual spending bills by then…” (Huetteman/Tavernise, 9/6).

POLITICO: Zika funding bill fails — again
“…The lack of funding is already hurting efforts to battle the mosquito-borne virus responsible for severe birth defects. A top Obama administration health official told POLITICO that progress on up to four possible Zika vaccines at the National Institutes of Health will have to stop if funding isn’t approved by the end of this month…” (Haberkorn, 9/6).

POLITICO: Clinton: Congressional Republicans ‘playing games’ with Zika funding
“…Speaking at a rally in Florida, where concern over the spread of Zika is high, [Democratic presidential nominee Hillary] Clinton attacked congressional Republicans for ‘playing games’ by tying political non-starters to such critical public health legislation…” (Nelson, 9/6).

Washington Post: Another failed Zika vote could be the start of a resolution
“…[L]awmakers in both parties said they now hope negotiations will begin in earnest to quickly come up with a bipartisan deal to address the potential public health crisis. … After months of bickering over the details of a deal, many in Congress expect that lawmakers now back in Washington after a seven-week break will feel a renewed urgency to find a solution this month before heading home for the elections…” (Snell, 9/6).

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