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Murray-Blunt bipartisan compromise amendment passes 68-30—set to clear Senate when the bill it is attached to passes later today

Murray continues pushing Senate Republicans to send Zika agreement to the House as separate bill

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement on passage of the bipartisan deal to provide $1.1 billion in emergency funding to prepare for and respond to the Zika virus. The legislation passed with a strong bipartisan vote of 68-30. The bill this amendment is attached to is expected to clear the Senate later today, but the path forward to merge it with the House bill and actually get Zika funding would be unclear if Republicans don’t allow the bill to move separately.

“While it shouldn’t have taken so long, I’m pleased that today the Senate was able to reach bipartisan agreement on a strong first step to fight back against the Zika virus—and now we need to make sure these resources get to families and communities as quickly as possible. I urge Republicans to work with us to send our agreement to the House on its own, pass it, and get it to the President’s desk without any further delay. This is a public health emergency and Congress should treat it like one.”

In remarks on the Senate floor, Murray continued urging Senate Republicans to send the funding package as a standalone bill to the House for a vote, and called on House Republicans to agree to send the bipartisan Senate agreement to the President’s desk.

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks on the floor:

“M. President—I am disappointed that Republicans refused to work with us to fully fund the President’s emergency supplemental proposal, and it shouldn’t have taken us so long to get to this point, but I’m pleased this will move us closer to a down payment on the President’s emergency funding package in the Senate.

“I want to commend Chairman Blunt for his work with us on this—and all the Democrats and Republicans who are supporting it.

“But, I want to remind all of us, this is only a first step, and we have to make sure that this agreement gets through the House and to the President’s desk in the least amount of time.

“I would hope that we could separate it from this bill and move it quickly.

“That was objected to yesterday over pay fors, which are not part of this agreement.

“But this is a critical emergency.

“We need to move forward on this first step, and I hope we can – and I hope we can do it in a timely manner.

“Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield the floor.”

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