Published: Sat, July 16, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Congress expected to leave town with no action on guns, Zika

Congress expected to leave town with no action on guns, Zika

On defense spending, Democrats won't advance the bill because they believe Republicans are intent on underfunding domestic programs that are important to Democrats while boosting money for the Pentagon, a priority for many Republicans. It is that same measure, offered again by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), that failed again Thursday on a procedural vote, with Democrats preventing it from getting the necessary 60 supporters. Meanwhile, lawmakers will leave Washington at the end of the week without passing bills on guns or funding for Zika virus treatment. "This will be the eighth time this Congress that the Republican Leader has resorted to this tactic".

Senate Republicans in turn have called up bills to fund the military and veterans programs and when they are blocked, they charge Democrats are insensitive to the needs of soldiers and veterans. But Democrats are balking over what they see as "poison pills" attached to the money that would deny funds to women's health care provider Planned Parenthood and ease some environmental provisions. Ultimately, they used a $1.1 billion spending level that Senate Democrats endorsed earlier this year, while tapping $750 million from the lingering Ebola fight, Obamacare and other accounts to offset much of the cost, as House Republicans wanted.

Reid countered: "Republicans have no desire to work with us to get a bipartisan Zika funding bill to the president now, or any time in the future".

President Obama recently argued that Congress should delay its almost two-month-long break until after a Zika bill passes, but Republican leaders show no interest in doing that. While so far all cases in the United States appear to have been brought by travelers, local transmission may begin soon.

Not surprisingly, Republicans and Democrats are blaming one another for running down the clock without taking action on high-profile issues. Patty Murray, D-Washington. "Now, we are days away from a summer recess".

Congress expected to leave town with no action on guns, Zika
Congress expected to leave town with no action on guns, Zika

The U.S. Congress is headed for a seven-week recess without addressing gun violence, the Zika virus outbreak and other pressing issues, amid persistent election-year bickering. As of Tuesday there were 282 cases, according to the Florida Department of Health.

While Carter makes clear his intentions to work with House and Senate leadership on the budget, Cook said, he spells out three broad areas of serious concern with the legislation.

Other bills withering in the Senate include a reform of federal prison sentencing guidelines and an effort to streamline the approval of new medicines. Congress must now pass a stop-gap spending bill before September 30 to avoid a government shutdown. In the Senate, an effort by majority Republicans to revive debates on the measures - which had languished under Democratic control of the chamber - hasn't gone as well as hoped. House conservatives are pushing for the legislation to kick final spending decisions into next year, anxious that leaders will try to cram a massive omnibus appropriations bill through Congress following the election.

The mass shooting at the Orlando gay nightclub in June and the growing public health threat of Zika have not been enough to overcome the partisan stalemate that has derailed most major legislation in Congress this year. "I do not know many African American men who do not have a very similar story to tell, no matter their profession, no matter their income, no matter their disposition in life".

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