Dems urge Senate to back Obama Zika request
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Democrats are pressing Senate appropriators to include President Obama's push for funding to combat the Zika virus in annual spending bills. 

Twenty-four senators sent a letter Friday saying that Congress should support the administration's $1.9 billion request without dipping into the government funds set aside to tackle Ebola. 
 
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"Dramatically reducing funding for the Ebola account now ... would increase health risks worldwide while also sending a troubling message about the U.S. commitment to ending the current epidemic and preparing for future outbreaks," they wrote to Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamUnder pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support A real national security budget would fully fund State Department Gorsuch rewrites playbook for confirmation hearings MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDems get it wrong: 'Originalism' is mainstream, even for liberal judges Live coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch MORE (D-Vt.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayDems mock House GOP over lack of women in healthcare meeting Elle honors 10 at annual 'Women in Washington' event Five takeaways from Labor pick’s confirmation hearing MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy BluntTop Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight Overnight Healthcare: Pressure mounts for changes to GOP ObamaCare bill Pressure mounts for changes to ObamaCare bill MORE (R-Mo.), the top members of Appropriations subcommittees that will make initial funding decisions.
 
While the administration has doubled down on its request for emergency funding to bolster its ability to combat the spread of the Zika virus, House Republicans argue that the White House should first use money currently allocated for tackling Ebola. 
 
While concerns about an outbreak of Ebola in the United States caused panic in 2014, it's largely disappeared from the public's radar as reports of new cases have largely ended in West Africa. 
 
Democrats, however, have panned the GOP strategy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters that it "would be very wrong." Meanwhile, Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, called it "short-sighted." 
 
The Senate Democrats added in their letter Friday that Congress must remain "vigilant" on Ebola, including creating a "stockpile" of vaccines that would be readily available for potential outbreaks. 
 
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