Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked funding for a $1.1 billion bill to fund Zika research and response efforts.
The 52-46 vote came after numerous cases in Florida and Puerto Rico. In the United States, there have been 2,722 reported cases of Zika. About 624 of them are pregnant women.
AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said, “despite Senate Democrats’ obstruction of the House-passed $1.1 billion bill to fight Zika, we are confident resources will get approved in September.”
According to Politico, Democrats rejected the bill because of GOP riders. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid stated that Republicans had attached a bill seeking to remove funds from Planned Parenthood.
Republicans also attached a bill that would allow the flying of the Confederate flag at Veterans Administration cemeteries.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated, “Nothing shows the Republicans’ partisanship on this issue more clearly than the fact that they abandoned a bill that passed with 89 votes in the Senate and loaded it up with poison pill riders to assuage the hard right.”
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Zika is expected to travel to Texas and leaders in the Lone Star state as well as Florida have stepped up efforts to get Zika funding, which is partially funded by cuts to the Affordable Care Act program.
According to the BBC, as of August, there were more than 14,000 cases of Zika in US territories, most in Puerto Rico. Approval for funding is expected by the end of the month, but if an agreement isn’t reached, the government could shutdown on Sept. 30.