GOP torn on Obama's Ebola funding request

Sen. John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanAppropriators fume over reports of Trump plan to reprogram .2 billion for wall The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Eleven GOP senators sign open letter backing Sessions's comeback bid MORE (R-Ark.) late Wednesday suggested Congress might supply funding to combat Ebola, but below President Obama’s new $6.2 billion request.

On Fox Business Network’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Boozman said lawmakers are still looking over the comprehensive request.

“We'll take the president's request, the administration's, and then sift through it. We will be supplying funding, you know, for this, but not, I don't think, at that level,” said Boozman, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

That panel held a hearing Wednesday on Ebola in which Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mary Mathews BurwellWhy Trump will win the wall fight Price was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill MORE and other administration officials asked for Congress’s cooperation.

ADVERTISEMENT

Boozman said the United States should have “stepped in much earlier” to respond to Ebola before it “really erupted into a fire.”

On CNN Thursday morning, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said he thinks Congress will approve the full request.  

“I think we’re inclined to give him this,” Royce said.

This came after other lawmakers grilled officials about how the money would be distributed. The administration wants to use the funding to bolster the response at the source of the outbreak in West Africa and for the domestic response in the U.S. 

Administration officials are emphasizing it’s critical that Congress approve the funding request.

“We desperately need this emergency funding requests," Raj Shah, the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, said during the hearing Wednesday. "We will literally be shutting down [without it]."

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), meanwhile, said he plans to introduce a bill Thursday meant to strengthen the U.S. response to Ebola. It’s unclear whether the funding request would be weaved into Smith’s measure.