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CDC funds 'moving in the wrong direction,' Casey says

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Trump officials move to require drug prices in TV ads | 4,000 more people lose Medicaid in Arkansas | New top official for Medicaid Election Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) on Monday expressed concern over funding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) amid the Ebola outbreak.

On MSNBC’s “Jose Diaz-Balart,” Casey noted that the CDC budget has been cut by more than $500 million in recent years.

“That's moving in the wrong direction. I think sequestration is a problem as well,” he said. “This funding issue is real, and we’ve got to address that.” 

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member on the House Budget Committee, said last Thursday on CNN that there’s “no doubt” healthcare cuts have made it more difficult to respond to the Ebola epidemic. 

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The agency’s budget in 2014 is $5.9 billion, compared to the $6.5 billion allotted in 2010. 

Last year’s budget deal delayed the across-the-board sequester cuts until fiscal 2016, but the law required the CDC to cut 5 percent, or more than $285 million, from its fiscal 2013 budget, the agency said.

The sequester resulted in a $195 million cut in 2013 to the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, which aims to prevent illness and death by a wide variety of infectious diseases, according to the CDC. 

A CDC report from earlier this year also noted its funding for public health preparedness and response activities was $1 billion lower in fiscal 2013 than in 2002. 

The calls for additional funding come as the Obama administration tries to prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States. 

A Liberian man, who was the first person diagnosed with the disease in the U.S., is being treated at a Dallas hospital. A freelance videographer for NBC News has also been infected and is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Omaha, Neb.

President Obama has asked Congress to approve a shift in $1 billion in Pentagon funds to pay for the U.S. response to the disease. Only $50 million has been approved so far, and leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said last week they want more details from the administration about its response plan to better inform their funding decisions.