U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) issued the following statement after Senate Democrats blocked the military construction, veterans affairs, and Zika appropriations conference report, legislation that would have funded numerous programs to support America’s veterans as well as vital military construction projects:
“I’m disappointed that just days before the July 4 holiday, Senate Democrats voted in lockstep to deny funding for America’s veterans and for important construction projects that would support the mission of our military personnel around the globe,” said Thune. “It sends all the wrong messages to our veterans and their families, the men and women who currently serve in the military, and the rest of the American people.”
The bill also contained a key provision that would have provided critical funding to combat the emerging threat posed by the Zika virus. The House-Senate negotiated bill would have provided funding for immediate needs like mosquito control programs and for longer-term goals like vaccine development and treatments.
“It’s highly disingenuous for Senate Democrats to on the one hand say the Zika threat requires immediate attention and then on the other hand block critical funding designed to tackle this problem early in the mosquito season,” continued Thune. “Democrats are apparently more interested in pacifying a Democrat special-interest group than they are in actually doing anything about Zika. This is election-year politics at its worst. The American people know it, and they deserve better.”
Just last month, every Senate Democrat voted for a separate Zika response bill with a funding level identical to that in the current proposal.
Prior to today’s vote, Thune spoke on the Senate floor and urged his colleagues to support this common-sense bill.