Healthcare

Obama: ‘We cannot be complacent’ on Ebola

President Obama warned Tuesday that the deadly Ebola virus “is still going to be a danger” to Americans as he pressed lawmakers to approve more than $6 billion in emergency funding to fight the disease.

“We cannot be complacent simply because the news attention on it has waned,” the president said Tuesday during a meeting with top health officials.

{mosads}”We have to stay with it, and that’s why I’m calling Congress to make sure that it approves, before it leaves, the emergency funding request that we’ve put forward to respond to Ebola,” he added.

Obama said the additional money would help strengthen domestic health systems “so we can respond to any future cases that may arise in the United States, wherever they might happen.”

He also said the funding would help “sustain our efforts in West Africa” and underwrite the development of Ebola vaccines and treatments. Moreover, Obama said, the funding would help build infrastructure to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

“In some ways, we are lucky Ebola is a very difficult disease to transmit,” Obama said. “If we have a comparable lethal disease that is airborne, we have much bigger problems.

“All this makes it necessary for Congress to act,” he continued. “This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is a basic issue of the health and safety of the American people, and so I hope that Congress is on the case on this issue before they leave.”

Republican aides have indicated that the additional funding will likely be included in a spending bill expected to pass during the lame-duck session, although it’s still unclear whether the GOP will agree to the full request. Lawmakers must agree to a government funding deal by Dec. 11 or risk a shutdown.

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