37.1 F
Fort Worth
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Government Congress returns to battle over Zika, keep government open

Congress returns to battle over Zika, keep government open

Other News

Exxon’s oil slick

Exxon Mobil is slashing its capital spending budget for 2020 by 30% due to weak demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and a market...

Folk music’s Mark Twain: 7 Essential tracks from John Prine,

NEW YORK (AP) — Some people, the songs just come out of them. For nearly half a century, they tumbled out of John Prine...

Tarrant County records another COVID-19 death

Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH) on Wednesday, April 8 reported that a resident of Euless has died as the result of the COVID-19 virus....

Tradition stymied: A year unlike any since WWII for Augusta

The Masters is so intertwined with Augusta, they added an extra day to spring break.You see, the first full week of April isn't just...

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers returning to Washington after a seven-week break picked up right where they left off — feuding about legislation to battle the mosquito-borne Zika virus and deadlocked over the defense budget.

A tightening presidential race and pitched warfare for control of the Senate this November promise to overshadow whatever Congress accomplishes in an election-shortened September session — which, for now, looks like little more than a temporary government-wide spending bill to prevent a shutdown at month’s end, possibly linked to money to battle Zika.

“We’re going to work through these issues and I’m sure we’ll have a successful outcome to make sure just that the trains are running on time,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told hometown radio host Stan Milam of AM 1380 in Janesville on Tuesday.

On the Zika virus, which has spread over the summer and is linked to birth defects, Ryan said: “I do believe we’ll find some kind of resolution.”

In its first vote Tuesday, Senate Democrats are sure to block a $1.1 billion Zika funding package and accompanying Veterans Administration spending bill over restrictions on Planned Parenthood. A subsequent vote would prevent the Senate from turning to a $576 billion Pentagon spending measure.

Democrats oppose the Zika measure as it bars Planned Parenthood clinics in Zika-suffering Puerto Rico from receiving new money to treat the disease and curb its spread. The legislation also would ease, over the objections of environmentalists, permitting requirements for pesticide spraying to kill the mosquitoes that can spread the virus.

Republicans added those provisions to the measure in June, along with spending cuts to help pay for the Zika bill, saying they are reasonable priorities that reflect their control of the House and Senate.

The Zika threat hasn’t gripped the public as Ebola did two years ago, but pressure is building as dozens of mosquito-transmitted Zika cases have been confirmed in the political battleground state of Florida since lawmakers left Washington in July.

The defense bill, meanwhile, is caught in a furious battle sparked by a Republican move to use emergency war funds to try to artificially increase the basic Pentagon budget by $16 billion next year. The Obama administration and its Democratic allies on Capitol Hill are dead set against the idea, which breaks with a hard-won budget deal that’s less than a year old; they say that if Republicans want more money for defense, domestic programs will have to receive an equal boost.

“It’s hard to explain why — despite their own calls for funding — Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that could help keep pregnant women and babies safer from Zika,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. “It’s also hard to explain why — despite the array of terror attacks we’ve seen across the world — Senate Democrats decided to block a bill that could help keep the American people safer from threats.”

The defense battle won’t be resolved until after Election Day, but Tuesday’s vote on Zika should send the warring parties back to the drawing board, and it appears likely that the provision targeting Planned Parenthood — and perhaps the underlying $95 million worth of social services grants — will have to be dropped from the measure.

For his part, Ryan has to navigate some tricky waters on the underlying stopgap spending bill, known in Washington-speak as a continuing resolution. Some conservatives want to block any post-election session and are pressing for a continuing resolution that keeps the government open until March or so. But President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats are dead set against the idea, and Ryan said he wants to keep negotiating on the full-year spending bills through the fall.

Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat, on Tuesday said that an extension of current spending “should be in my view be passed as soon as possible, it should go to sometime in December” and budget work should be finished by the end of the year.

As the inauguration of the next president looms in January, a multi-year restoration of the iconic Capitol Dome is nearing completion, and the Rotunda reopened for visitors on Tuesday, free of scaffolding and safety netting that prevented visitors from a full view of its artwork.

Politically, Republicans are pressing for additional investigations of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her emails. House conservatives are determined to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, saying he stonewalled and impeded congressional investigations into IRS targeting of conservative organizations. Koskinen wasn’t commissioner at the time.

Latest News

As Ken Paxton battles scandal, Land Commissioner George P. Bush considering a 2022 run for attorney general

By Emma Platoff and Cassandra Pollock, The Texas Tribune Oct. 26, 2020 "As Ken...

Trey Martinez Fischer becomes second Democrat to announce run for speaker of the Texas House

By Cassandra Pollock, The Texas Tribune Oct. 26, 2020 "Trey Martinez Fischer becomes second...

U.S. Senate confirms Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to Supreme Court, with Texans Cornyn and Cruz in favor

By Abby Livingston, The Texas Tribune Oct. 26, 2020 "U.S. Senate confirms Amy Coney...

Care N’ Care Health Plan adds Methodist Medical Group

Care N’ Care (HMO/PPO) Health Plan added Methodist Medical Group into its provider network, effective Nov. 1. The group currently employs 227...

Barrett confirmation vote set for tonight

By LISA MASCARO  AP Congressional Correspondent WASHINGTON (AP) — Overpowering Democratic opposition, Senate Republicans are set to confirm Amy...