- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2016

President Obama will veto the bill for $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus if it makes it to his desk, the White House said Friday.

White House deputy press secretary Erick Schultz said the House-passed bill, which faces an uphill battle to overcome opposition from Senate Democrats in the upper chamber, is “woefully inadequate.”

“We are disappointed that Republicans turned this into a political exercise,” he told reporters traveling with the president aboard Air Force One to California. “This is a conference report that doesn’t look like it can even pass the United States Senate. But if it did, and the president was presented with the bill, he would veto it.”

Mr. Shultz said that in the case of the Zika threat, some funding wasn’t better than no funding. And he said the White House wasn’t afraid of being seen as blocking the $1.1 billion offered by the Republican-run Congress.

“It is a public health emergency, and that’s all the more reason why it’s unfortunate that Republicans want to turn this into a partisan exercise,” said Mr. Shultz.

He gave a laundry list of reasons why the bill was inadequate.

Mr. Shultz said that in addition to being short of the $1.9 billion requested by public health officials, the deal also paid for it with cuts to Obamacare and to funding to fight Ebola.

“This bill unfortunately includes an ideological rider blocking access to contraception for women in the U.S., including those in Puerto Rico, even though Zika is a sexually transmitted disease and even though it has been transmitted in Puerto Rico. It makes no sense,” he said.

Senate Democrats have cited similar opposition to the bill.

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