Appropriators want detailed Ebola plan for funding decisions

Leaders of the House Appropriations Committee are asking the Obama administration to provide specific details about the government’s response to the Ebola crisis to inform their funding decisions.

The administration has asked Congress for permission to shift $1 billion in Pentagon funds as part of the fight against Ebola. The Pentagon would manage the money with the Health and Human Services Department, and lawmakers are concerned about whether those agencies will coordinate well.

“Our initial review of the proposal has raised questions about the coordination and consistency among these agencies,” Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) and ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget and National Security Council on Thursday. 

{mosads}Rogers and Lowey said they want a response from the administration by Oct. 17. 

Rogers has already signed off on a first installment of $50 million for the Pentagon’s effort, but he and Lowey want the White House to detail the overall strategy to combat Ebola and how U.S. personnel deployed to West Africa will be protected. 

The two lawmakers asked the administration for a detailed cost report each month that covers how much each agency will have to spend on response activities.

They also asked for each agency to provide a weekly report on contributions to the U.S. response and for agencies to provide a timeline to measure the effectiveness of the plan. 

“To fulfill the committee’s oversight role and to ensure that we are fully prepared to act on resource requests, we request that the following government-wide reporting be initiated as soon as possible, or continued, as appropriation, to include all response efforts, including vaccine and treatment research and development,” they wrote.

As of last week, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) reportedly was holding up money to fight Ebola because he wanted details about the financial and logistical costs to the government.

More than 1,400 U.S. troops, meanwhile, will head to West Africa this month to help people in countries infected with the disease.  

Tags Ebola Hal Rogers Nita Lowey Office of Management and Budget

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