- The Washington Times - Friday, July 15, 2016

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi unloaded on Republicans Friday, saying Congress is skipping town without having ponied up money for a host of pressing needs, ranging from combatting the Zika virus to emergency money to treat opioid addiction to shipping money to help with the lead-laced water situation in Flint, Michigan.

Congress has wrapped up business for the summer and went on vacation Thursday, giving space for both the GOP and Democrats to hold their conventions over the next two weeks, then to take a five-week August break.

As they left town, lawmakers passed a series of bipartisan bills, including the approval of new labeling rules for genetically modified crops and a new national policy for treating addiction to heroin and prescription painkillers.

But Mrs. Pelosi said the opioid abuse bill, which passed overwhelmingly, was ineffective without an injection of emergency money.

In the Senate, meanwhile, Democrats are filibustering to block $1.1 billion in anti-Zika money, objecting to cuts the GOP made elsewhere in the budget to pay for part of the new money. Democrats also are insisting that Planned Parenthood be given access to some of the money meant for contraceptives — a way of helping women at risk of the disease from becoming pregnant.

And Democrats want to see more money shipped to Flint to help the city deal with dangerous levels of lead in its water.

Mrs. Pelosi was stunned the seven-week vacation wasn’t drawing more anger.

“It’s stunning but they seem to be getting away with it,” she said at her weekly briefing.

Republicans say they have compromised on Zika: House Republicans wanted less than $1 billion to be spent, and wanted all of it offset.

They said Democrats will be blamed if Zika does spread in the U.S. over the summer, saying the Senate filibuster has blocked the one way to get more money in the pipeline right now.

Mrs. Pelosi also blasted the GOP for not even completing a budget this year — something Republican leaders had repeatedly said was a test of their own ability to govern. The California Democrat said the GOP should live up to its own proposal to deny Congress its salaries if it doesn’t finish the annual blueprint.

“No budget, no pay,” she said.


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