The Zika virus terrifies for many reasons, and the CDC is fresh out of money to combat it. The disease, which causes microcephaly in infants and may also attack adult brain cells, has surfaced in multiple locations in Florida. Governor Rick Scott was tasked with publicly coping with the crisis while asking “the federal government to show up.” Congress tried and failed to pass a few bills before going on summer recess.
On Tuesday, the Senate returned from holiday and promptly failed to pass a third Zika bill. This likely happened for the same reason as last time — when embedded provisions aimed to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and allow the Confederate flag to be flown at federal cemeteries. CNN reveals the Senate’s current bill failed 52 to 46 (and needed 60 votes to move forward). Many who voted against the bill were Democrats who opposed familiar-sounding measures that were attached to the bill by Republicans:
Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a $1.1 billion bill to combat the Zika virus. They opposed provisions in the bill that would have blocked funding for Planned Parenthood and that would have allowed Confederate flags to fly at military veteran cemeteries.
House Speaker Paul Ryan had something to say about the “unacceptable” failure of Senate Democrats in blocking the bill:
“Senate Democrats are talking out of both sides of their mouths. In one breath, they call the Zika virus urgent and pressing, and in the other, they vote down the very funding we need to stop it. They have now blocked this funding for the third time. It is unacceptable. Democrats must finally give up the act and get the job done.”
Meanwhile, Florida Senator Marco Rubio still believes that Zika-infected women shouldn’t be allowed to have abortions. It must be noted that Rubio’s running a tight race against his Democratic competitor in his bid for reelection. His refusal to budge on abortion for those infected with Zika doesn’t pair well with Republicans saddling these Zika bills with measures that would have crippled Planned Parenthood.