Congress Zika Virus

The House and Senate Pass Different Zika Bills

United_States_Capitol
JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives finally passed a Zika funding bill yesterday, but as you might expect there are several problems with it.

The House bill not only provides half as much funding as the White House requested, it also provides less funding than Senate Republicans have appropriated.

The House’s bill is about half of the Senate’s funding package of $1.1 billion, which is intended to last through September 2017. The Senate advanced that bill on Tuesday.

House Democrats unanimously opposed the bill on Wednesday. Democrats have blasted the House GOP package as a negligent response to a virus that is known to cause birth defects and is expected to spread into the continental U.S. next month.

Now that the House and Senate have passed competing bills, what happens next?

Congressional leaders from both chambers will go to conference and attempt to reach an agreement that can pass through both chambers, but that process could take weeks or even months. Moreover, it's possible they won't be able to reach an agreement.

The thorn in everyone's side is House Republicans and, more specifically, the House Freedom Caucus. Senate Republicans have been slightly more inclined to cooperate on the issue because control of the Senate is up for grabs this November.

House Republicans in their safely-gerrymandered districts are not nearly as concerned about popular backlash should the number of Zika cases explode this summer.

  • muselet

    Whether or not Zika virus shows up in the US, Rs will pitch a fit, accuse the administration of not taking the threat seriously enough, then fundraise off their fauxtrage. It’s what they did with Ebola—you know, the disease so awful we should close our borders to any person from Africa just in case, and the disease for which they underfunded research (funding which they’re now insisting the administration should simply divert to Zika)—and it’s what they’ll do in the next potential public health crisis.

    These people couldn’t run a lemonade stand, let alone a national government.

    –alopecia

  • fry1laurie

    I think you mean the right hand doesn’t know what the extreme right hand is doing.