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Obama to veto anti-Zika bill over underfunding compromise

US President Barack Obama could veto a $1.1 billion bill to combat the Zika virus after the House passed a rapidly passed compromise bill earlier on Thursday. Obama wants $1.9 billion to fight the disease.

The bill - a compromise between the House and Senate - is heading to a vote in the Senate after a 239-171 early vote in the lower chamber.

Democrats now reportedly plan to block it after Republican leaders called the vote abruptly, while permitting no debate and immediately adjourning until July 4.

The $1.1 billion (1-billion-euro) figure was adopted by the Senate in May to fight the virus.

Washington partisanship crawls on

Partisanship

has undermined the Zika proposal from its inception and the rift raises questions as to whether lawmakers will approve any assistance in the short time left before they leave Washington in mid-July for the political conventions.

White House spokesman Eric Schultz said it doesn't appear likely the bill will pass the Senate, but that if it does, Obama will veto it.

Brasilien Aedes aegypti mosquito - Forschung Zika Virus

Zika is spread by mosquitos

Schultz said the figures in the bill are insufficient and that Republicans are diverting funds from other critical public health programs. He accused the Republicans of passing what he called an ideological bill and then "throwing up their hands."

A cause for alarm

Over 2,200 cases of

Zika infection

have been reported in the US and its territories. In Puerto Rico, more than 400 pregnant women were at risk of having babies with major deformities such as microcephaly, a condition in which newborns have smaller brains that might not have developed properly.

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The mysterious Zika virus # Tomorrow Today # 01.05.2016

jbh/bk (AP, Reuters)

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