Because of a really stupid and costly policy that allows legislators to amend bills and add their own special earmarks, diverting or designating some of the funds for their own pet projects.
The Zika bill would have provided $800 million less than the White House requested. In addition it would have blocked grant money to Planned Parenthood (intended to help poor women with Zika avoid having deformed babies), rolled back Clean Water Act requirements (designed to keep pesticides out of drinking water), slashed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs funding by $500 million and, finally, permitted the Confederate flag to fly at veterans cemeteries.
Pork barrel politics. As disgusting now as it’s always been. Each piece of legislation in Washington should deal with one topic, and one only. You vote yea or nay on funding Zika reasearch. Period. You want to cut funding to Planned Parenthood? Fine; draft a separate bill. You want to roll back Clean Water Act requirements? Draft your own bill. Ditto the VA funding cuts. And what’s the Confederate flag got to do with Zika funding?
Colorado law on referendums, for example, requires that each initiative deal with one topic. One. Uno. No amendments, riders, or earmarks dealing with unrelated issues. Each issue must be dealt with separately and must pass or fail on its own merits. So sensible. Makes you wonder how it ever became a law.