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 GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Regulation: Massachusetts AG sues Equifax | Trump weighs easing rules on gun exports | EPA nominee to fight worker safety rule in court Trump to ease rules on gun exports: report Overnight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions MORE (D-Vt.), Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntThe Hill's Whip List: Republicans try again on ObamaCare repeal Another health funding cliff puts care for millions at risk Top Senate Dem: We're going forward with understanding we can work with White House on DACA 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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