Democrats are pressing Senate appropriators to include President Obama's push for funding to combat the Zika virus in annual spending bills.
Dems urge Senate to back Obama Zika request
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.
"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 GrahamVulnerable GOP senator questions opponent's American heritage Trump on primary rivals who don't back him: 'I don't know how they live with themselves' The Trail 2016: Who is really winning? MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyDemocrats pounce on Cruz's Supreme Court comments Key GOP chairman calls for 'robust review' of AT&T-Time Warner deal Dem asks for 'highest level of scrutiny' on AT&T-Time Warner deal MORE (D-Vt.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military A fight for new rights MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy BluntWarren’s power on the rise GOP gets chance to run on ObamaCare Republicans make M investment in Senate races 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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