The following is an excerpt from Ted Barrett | September 6, 2016 | CNN.com |
Washington (CNN)The top Republican and Democratic Senate leaders returned from their seven-week summer recess Tuesday and picked up where they left off in July -- harshly blaming the other's party for inaction on critical bills to battle Zika and fund the government.
In a pair of votes, Democrats blocked taking up GOP bills to pay for a public health response to the virus and to fund the Pentagon next year leaving in doubt Congress' ability to pass either bill.
Each failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance.
If an agreement is not reached, the government could shut down on September 30, just a few weeks before the presidential and congressional elections. However, several congressional Republicans suggested the Zika and government funding issues would be combined and resolved together ahead of the deadline.
"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," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the floor. "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 like ISIL."
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