Senate Democrats block bill that included money to fight Zika virus

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WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats on Tuesday blocked a $1.1 billion bill that included money to combat the Zika virus.

They objected to language that would block Zika prevention and treatment money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico. Republicans countered that the objection was a flimsy excuse compared to the Zika threat.

The measure also would have allowed Confederate flags to fly at military veteran cemeteries.

The vote failed 52 to 46. It needed 60 votes to advance.

The vote could prompt GOP leaders to try to attach money to battle Zika to a must-do temporary spending bill that is the top priority for an abbreviated pre-election session of Congress.

Democrats objected to language that would block Zika prevention and treatment money from going to Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico. Republicans countered that the objection was a flimsy excuse compared to the Zika threat.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the next move might be to add the Zika money to the stopgap spending bill.