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Senate likely to advance $1.1 billion in Zika funding

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 5:00 AM
In this file photo, a municipal health worker sprays insecticide in a junkyard to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits the Zika virus, in Joao Pessoa, Brazil.

WASHINGTON (AP):

After a three-month delay, the Senate is acting on President Barack Obama's request for money to combat the Zika virus.

The Senate voted yesterday on three competing plans to battle the virus, with a bipartisan plan that cuts Obama's $1.9 billion request to $1.1 billion having the greatest chance to advance. The procedural vote would pave the way to add funds for the government's response to Zika to an unrelated spending bill.

For pregnant women, Zika can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects, as well as eye problems, hearing deficits and impaired growth. Zika is commonly spread by mosquitoes and can also be contracted through sexual contact.