Senate agrees to negotiate with House over Zika funding
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has voted to move ahead with negotiations with the House on a measure to fund the government's fight against the Zika virus.
The 93-2 vote paves the way for potentially tricky talks over how much money to provide and whether to pay for it with cuts elsewhere in the budget as demanded by House GOP conservatives.
The Zika virus can cause grave birth defects and can be spread by mosquitoes native to large swathes of the country.
President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion in February; the Senate responded with a bipartisan $1.1 billion measure last month -- treated as emergency funds not requiring offsetting spending cuts -- and the House followed with a $622 million measure.
House leaders are insisting on spending cuts to finance the battle.