Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guns, Immigration and Zika Top Agenda as Congress Returns

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Guns, Immigration and Zika Top Agenda as Congress Returns

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON * Gun control, immigration and money to combat the Zika virus top the congressional agenda as lawmakers sprint toward the political conventions this month and a seven-week summer recess.

Amid all that, Republicans plan to squeeze in a meeting with Donald Trump on Thursday.

The House and Senate have just eight legislative days before their break, and lawmakers have scheduled a handful of politically charged votes with implications for incumbents in November's election. In the House, legislation to fight terrorism and a gun control measure that already failed in the Senate are planned for this week.

The House won't vote on proposed Democratic gun curbs, Speaker Paul Ryan suggested Tuesday as the rekindled election-year clash over firearms showed no sign of resolution. Democrats said it was time for Ryan to "get out of the way" and heed public demands for gun restrictions.

Ryan, R-Wis., said Democrats' plans to broaden required background checks for gun buyers and to bar firearm sales to terrorism suspects were unconstitutional. And though he did not directly say he would block votes on the Democrats' bills, he said Republicans had no intention of rewarding Democrats for their lengthy House floor sit-in two weeks ago to demand gun-control votes.

In the Senate, immigration bills and legislation to impose labeling on genetically modified food are on tap. Unclear is whether Republicans and Democrats can resolve the dispute over funds for the mosquito-borne Zika virus now that summer is in full swing, or whether the matter will have to wait until September when Congress returns.

A look at the issues:

ZIKA

Back in February, President Barack Obama requested $1.9 billion in emergency money to fight Zika, which causes grave birth defects and has infected 287 pregnant women in the United States and 250 in U.S. territories, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. …

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