Congress has returned from one of their longest vacations in years — 7 weeks. But some things never change. A third attempt to pass funding to deal with the Zika virus failed. Why? Because Republicans won’t give in on added provisions not related to Zika funding and Democrats won’t give in.
The Senate has been working to approve $1.9 billion in emergency funding to deal with the Zika virus which can cause brain damage and birth defects in infants. As the Senate struggles to address the problem and obstruction remains the order of the day on Capitol Hill, seven new Zika cases were reported in South Florida and pregnant women have been instructed to exercise a great deal of precaution. In August 56 people have contracted the Zika virus in Miami Beach.
Translation: Congress has returned to it’s same old games — or at least the Senate has. The House voted tonight at 6:30 p.m. on two non controversial measures.
The provisions Senate Republicans have added to the Zika funding bill would make access to contraception more difficult for women (of course) and weaken regulations regarding pesticide use — something environmentalists aren’t happy about. There’s also a provision that would allow Confederate flags to fly at military veterans cemeteries — top priorities.
“If we don’t get new money, we won’t be able to do things at a pace that is necessary and appropriate to the urgency of this threat,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases today as the Senate played obstruction games.
Congress has returned. And so has obstruction.