On Tuesday Senate Democrats blocked a Republican proposal that would have provided $1.1 billion to fight the Zika Virus. This virus is spread by mosquitos and can cause horrible birth defects. There are currently more than 800 cases of this virus, 300 of which include pregnant women at risk of delivering children with severe deformities.
This bill did not reach the 60 votes required to pass, but instead followed party lines and resulted in a vote of 52-48.Democrats are arguing that Republicans are using this bill to push ideology. They have insisted that republicans have packed the bill with provisions that aren’t “environmentally friendly,” and that deny new funding to Planned Parenthood.
There provisions that Democrats oppose, are the restriction of $95 worth of federal grants to provide services such as birth control to women in Puerto Rico. They are also opposed to the lifting of restrictions on pesticide spraying, which may be necessary to eliminate this virus.
What happens next to address the rising health threat is unclear. Congress leaves Washington next month for a seven-week vacation without addressing this issue that is currently turning into an epidemic.
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