first_imgWASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday stumbled over a must-do bill to prevent the government from shutting down this weekend and to fund the fight against the Zika virus. Democrats, demanding money so Flint, Michigan, can address its lead-contaminated water crisis, overwhelmingly opposed the measure, as did a dozen of the Senate’s most conservative members.The 45-55 vote stalls the stopgap funding bill — for now at least — and is exasperating top Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who made several concessions to Democrats in weeks of negotiations over the measure.The GOP defections left McConnell, R-Ky., short of a simple majority, much less the 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster hurdle.Republican leaders are promising to address the Flint issue after the election in a separate water resources bill, but Democrats refuse to take them at their word.“‘Trust me we will consider Flint later’ — that’s like nothing to me,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.Democrats say that it’s unfair that the water crisis in Flint has gone on for more than a year with no assistance, while Louisiana and other states are getting $500 million for floods that occurred just last month. Democrats have played a strong hand in the negotiations and know they have leverage because Republicans controlling the House and Senate are eager to avoid a politically harmful shutdown at midnight on Friday.“Democrats have been clear that Congress should not leave Flint and other lead-tainted communities out of any (stopgap spending) negotiation that includes emergency disaster funding,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and other top Democrats in a Tuesday morning letter to McConnell.last_img read more

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