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Senate Passes Empty ‘Shell Bill’ Aimed At Advancing Talks On Government Funding, Including Zika Response Spending

POLITICO: Is Zika deal finally here?
“…The tentative funding on Zika virus is tucked within the larger continuing resolution that Congress is still hammering out. That short-term spending measure must pass in order to keep the government running until December 9. … Language in the emerging deal does not specify which providers are eligible or ineligible for funding, skirting a political landmine that has delayed Zika aid for months. Lawmakers are still hashing out how to pay for the $1.1 billion Zika aid package…” (Diamond, 9/20).

USA TODAY: Senate votes to advance empty bill to keep government funding on track
“Senators voted Tuesday evening to advance a bill to prevent an Oct. 1 government shutdown and combat the Zika virus, but the ‘shell bill’ provides no actual details of the agreement, which still must be written. The bill will serve as a vehicle for a deal that senators are continuing to negotiate. Senators voted 89-7 to approve the procedural move, which leaders hope will speed up the process for a final agreement…” (Kelly, 9/20).