DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine called on Republican leadership to reconvene Congress to pass new Zika legislation after Democrats blocked a GOP proposal earlier this summer.
“Congress should not be in recess when Zika is advancing. We ought to go back and call an emergency session,” said Kaine, a sitting senator from Virginia.
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He did not mention the Zika virus during his first solo rally in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday, but made sure to focus on it here at Daytona State College.
Kaine praised the Senate for passing a bipartisan bill 89-8 earlier this year, but the House added language restricting the use of some funds for women’s health care and also shifted some money away from Obamacare to pay for the new funding. Democrats balked and blocked the House-passed bill before leaving for a seven-week recess.
“The House put what we call a poison pill in it. They cared more about Planned Parenthood than they did Zika. Folks, Planned Parenthood is not a public health emergency. Planned parenthood is an important health provider,” Kaine said to broad cheers from the crowd here.
Republicans criticized Kaine sharply for his votes against their $1.1 billion package, which was viewed by Democrats as designed to make them look obstructionist. Asked for comment, Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) replied:
“Oh, he’s going to drop his filibuster?”
“The House passed the funding bill already but it continues to be blocked in the Senate by a Democrat-led filibuster. We would love for them to end that filibuster and pass the bill, but it doesn’t sound like they’re prepared to do that,” Stewart added.
“We hope this means that Senator Kaine and his fellow Senate Democrats are ready to end …