Ebola funding in ‘cromnibus’ falls just short of Obama request

The $1.1 trillion spending bill unveiled Tuesday night includes nearly all of President Obama’s massive $6.2 billion emergency funding request to fight the Ebola outbreak.

Lawmakers have agreed to spend $5.4 billion on Ebola treatment and prevention measures in the U.S. and West Africa.

The funding falls just short of the funding request issued by the president last month as a crucial step to curbing outbreak, which has infected more than 16,000 people overseas.

Nearly $2.5 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services, which plans to bolster the readiness of U.S. hospitals, speed up the development of vaccines and help monitor airline travelers from Ebola-stricken countries.

Another $2 billion would go to the U.S. Agency for International Development to “scale up” the global response. The State and Defense departments would each receive just over $100 million.

The White House has said the funds are “necessary to combat the spread of Ebola and reduce the potential for future outbreaks of infectious diseases,” according to a statement last month.

The GOP had been torn on the request, with several lawmakers scrutinizing the need for a $1.5 billion contingency fund.

A White House spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Obama would continue to ask for the remaining funding.

Ebola, which dominated headlines in early fall, when a Dallas hospital reported several infections, has since lost steam as a political issue. Ten patients have been treated for Ebola in the U.S., nine of whom survived. 

The American Hospital Association released a statement Wednesday that said it is “pleased” with the funding level, which will help prepare for additional cases of Ebola.

“This bill is a good first step to ensure that hospitals have the resources necessary to properly respond to this crisis. We urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services to expeditiously distribute the funds to hospitals so they may continue their preparedness efforts,” the statement reads.

The House Rules Committee will meet Wednesday to comb through the bill, dubbed the “cromnibus.”

— This post was updated at 11:59 a.m.


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