Senate rejects defense spending, Zika funding in procedural votes

The Senate on Thursday failed to clear a set of procedural hurdles that would have ended the debate on a plan to boost defense funding to counter the effects of sequestration as well as a measure that would add money for the Zika virus.

The defense funding face-off started with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introducing a proposal that would raise defense spending by tapping into a war funding account.

Democrat Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island countered and requested spending $18 billion on domestic programs by using funds earmarked for military operations against the Islamic State.

On Thursday, both amendments failed to clear key procedural votes. Sixty votes are needed to pass the proposal. McCain’s measure failed 42-to-56 while Reed’s failed 43-to-55.

The Senate also shot down a proposal by the Obama administration for additional funding to fight the Zika virus.

The administration requested $1.9 billion in February that would allow officials to continue Zika prevention efforts and begin studying long-term effects of people infected by the disease.

The House and Senate each passed their own Zika bills that would provide funding at levels lower than the administration’s request.