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 Olin GrahamDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle McConnell to Dems: Don't hold government 'hostage' over DACA Nielsen acknowledges Trump used 'tough language' in immigration meeting MORE (D-Vt.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayCDC director to miss fourth hearing because of potential ethics issues Week ahead: Lawmakers near deal on children's health funding Ryan suggests room for bipartisanship on ObamaCare MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senators eager for Romney to join them Senate GOP wary of ending Russia probes, despite pressure GOP on precipice of major end-of-year tax victory 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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