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 GrahamOvernight Defense: US blames ISIS for Turkey attack | Afghan visas in spending bill | Army rolls up its sleeves Senate panel passes bill that would create 4K visas for Afghans Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-S.C.), Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyOvernight Tech: Obama signs FOIA reform bill | Musicians take YouTube fight to Europe | Feds probe first driverless car death Obama signs bill to expand access to federal records Dems leery of Planned Parenthood cuts spark Senate scuffle MORE (D-Vt.), Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems: No August break without Zika deal Senators press Obama education chief on reforms Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans MORE (D-Wash.) and Roy BluntRoy BluntSenate Dems: No August break without Zika deal Overnight Finance: Senate sends Puerto Rico bill to Obama | Treasury, lawmakers to meet on tax rules | Obama hits Trump on NAFTA | Fed approves most banks' capital plans Overnight Healthcare: Sanders, Clinton ally jockey for health gavel 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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