Obama budget chief: Speed up Ebola funds

Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE urged House lawmakers Tuesday to speed up funding to fight Ebola, including approving a $250 million request that is on hold.

“The rapid spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa shows that time is of the essence. Given the nature of this crisis, every minute counts," Donovan wrote in a letter sent to the House Appropriations Committee on Oct. 10 obtained by Reuters.


“The faster we can achieve scale, the faster we can bring under control the spread of a virus that replicates at tremendous speed,” he added.

The White House has requested that $1 billion from the Pentagon’s war fund be transferred for anti-Ebola efforts.

Last week, Congress approved $750 million to support the Defense Department’s plan to send up to 4,000 troops to West Africa to help combat the deadly disease. That’s enough to fund the U.S.’s efforts for six months.

But lawmakers have balked on the remaining funds. House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeonHoward (Buck) Philip McKeonBottom Line Trump pick brings scrutiny to 'revolving door' between Pentagon, industry Bottom line MORE (R-Calif.) said in a statement last Thursday that he still had some concerns about the administration’s plan.

“While I maintain concerns, particularly regarding the safety and security of our military personnel supporting this mission, DOD [the Department of Defense] has provided us with much of their force protection plan and the other information requested," McKeon said.

“Therefore, I am prepared to release $750 million to DOD. Releasing these funds marks the beginning of the Committee’s oversight of this important mission, not the end," he added.

Troops will build and help run treatment centers as part of their effort to stamp out the lethal virus. Soldiers will be kept under watch to insure they do not develop symptoms while in West Africa and 21 days after they leave.