White House walks back proposal to cut Ebola funds

White House walks back proposal to cut Ebola funds
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The White House on Tuesday walked back a proposal to claw back $252 million in unspent funding from the 2015 Ebola outbreak.

The proposal was part of a broader package the Trump administration sent to Congress last month aimed at rescinding $15 billion in unspent funding Congress appropriated years ago.

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But public health groups and Democrats raised an uproar, pointing at the ongoing Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that has killed 27 people.

The $252 million is all that's left from the $5.4 billion in emergency funding appropriated in 2015. 

The White House initially said the cuts were justified because the outbreak had largely concluded. 

But health groups argued the money should remain untouched in case of another outbreak. 

"We cannot afford another situation where it takes months for the United States to respond to a global outbreak of a deadly nature," the American Society for Microbiology wrote in a letter last month to House leadership. 

"The first cases of the previous Ebola outbreak were identified in March 2014. Congress did not appropriate funding to the crisis until December 2014, after Ebola had already penetrated the U.S. border."