WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- The House of Representatives passed a bill providing $622 million to combat the Zika virus, a third of what the White House requested.
All but four Republicans voted for the bill, which was unanimously rejected by Democratic House members who said it was an inadequate response to a virus expected to spread next month to the continental United States.
The Zika virus is linked to birth defects, in particular microcephaly, in which an infant's head is much smaller than expected.
Democrats also argue the funding will remove resources from an ongoing battle against the Ebola virus.
The House measure must still be reconciled with a Senate bill, passed Tuesday, that would provide $1.1 billion in funding for research, prevention and treatment for the Zika virus for six months. The House bill offers funding for one year.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., sponsor of the bill, said the funding is sufficient, noting moments before the vote, "This is wholly adequate. It's more than adequate in terms of money." He added the funding to fight the Ebola virus was specifically meant to combat all infectious diseases, including the Zika virus.
About half the funding in the House bill comes from unspent money directed at the Ebola effort.
"When a tornado strikes, we don't steal money from the unfinished relief efforts for the last hurricane," countered Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., the most senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, "yet House Republicans would take more Ebola funding, risking that it could re-emerge."