Warren blames Congress for cutting Ebola research funding

Warren blames Congress for cutting Ebola research funding
© Greg Nash

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenGovernment Accountability Office will review Mar-a-Lago security procedures Dems debate working with GOP on consumer bureau revamp Overnight Finance: Trump stock slump | GOP looks to tax bill for lifeline | Trump repeals 'blacklisting rule' | Dem wants ethics probe into Treasury secretary MORE (D-Mass.) on Thursday suggested Congress bears some responsibility for the Ebola crisis, pointing to budget cuts for medical research.

After a speech to the New England Council, Warren was asked whether the government is doing enough to stop the current outbreak.  

“I want to remind everyone, Ebola is not new,” Warren said, according to the The Boston Herald.

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“We knew about this many years ago and started funding research on it. And then, with all the spending cutbacks and all the pressure on the National Institute of Health, much of that research has been shelved,” she added.

Warren, who serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said government funding for medical research had been cut by several billion dollars in recent years, and she suggested that hampered the U.S. response to the deadly disease.

“So now, we’re out spending millions, billions of dollars in emergency response. People have lost their lives, we’re all very worried, instead of spending the money in advance to do more of the research to avoid this kind of problem,” she said.

Budget cuts have hit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) in recent years. For fiscal 2014, CDC’s budget was $5.9 billion, down from the $6.5 billion allotted in 2010.

Last year, the CDC suffered as a result of the sequester, which required the agency to cut 5 percent, or more than $285 million, from its fiscal 2013 budget.

The sequester resulted in a $195 million cut that year to the National Centers for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, a CDC program that tries to prevent illness and death from infectious disease.