Pelosi slams Trump move to claw back Ebola funds amid Congo outbreak

Pelosi slams Trump move to claw back Ebola funds amid Congo outbreak
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRussian interference reports rock Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Pelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief MORE (D-Calif.) on Friday slammed a White House request to cut funds from an old account for responding to Ebola after a new deadly outbreak of the disease in Congo.

The White House on Tuesday requested that Congress rescind $252 million of the $470 million in funds left in an account created to respond to the 2014-2015 outbreak of the deadly virus. The request was included in a broader rescissions package that sought to claw back some $15.4 billion in unobligated funds sitting in old accounts.

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“The horrific scourge of Ebola has re-emerged in central Africa, posing a dire threat to countless innocent men, women and children. Yet, Republicans in Congress insist on pressing forward with a cruel, cynical rescissions package that eliminates life-saving funding for responding to outbreaks," Pelosi said.

The White House said the funds were dormant and unnecessary given that the outbreak, which was far more severe and widespread than the current one, has been contained for years.

Earlier in the week, former Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance chief Jeremy Konyndyk told The Hill that the funds should stay in place in case of a new outbreak.

The funds, he said, “in effect had the potential to function as something we very, very badly need, which is a contingency fund for significant large-scale disease outbreak."

The latest outbreak in Congo began in December, and at least 17 people have died of Ebola-like symptoms since then. On Thursday, Congo announced another Ebola-linked death — the first since the rescissions request — and said that nine new cases had emerged.

Pelosi slammed the administration for seeking spending clawbacks to lower the deficit after passing budget-busting tax reform late last year.

"It is utterly unconscionable that Republicans are insisting on brutally tight budgets for the communities who need it the most, while handing enormous giveaways to corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent,” she said.