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House Foreign Affairs Committee Holds Ebola Hearing; Administration Officials, Members Of Congress Comment On Epidemic Responses, Funding

News outlets report on comments on the U.S. and international responses to Ebola in West Africa from Obama administration officials and members of Congress at a House committee hearing and other events, as well as possible legislation on and emergency funding for the epidemic.

CQ News: USAID’s Ebola Request Gets Sympathetic Ear from House Panel
“House Foreign Affairs Committee members appeared supportive of providing emergency funding to help the State Department respond to the Ebola outbreak, but were skeptical of funding the World Health Organization. State Department officials, including U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, stressed the importance of getting the extra fiscal 2015 funding, saying the agency has been spending money quickly to try to combat the epidemic in West Africa…” (Ethridge, 11/13).

The Hill: GOP chairman rips ‘deadly incompetence’ of U.N. Ebola response
“A top Republican is calling for a new strategy to fight Ebola overseas — one that does not rely on the embattled World Health Organization (WHO). Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, slammed the organization for what he called ‘deadly incompetence’ in the battle against the disease…” (Ferris, 11/13).

CQ News: Pentagon’s Ebola Quarantines Not Grounded in Science, Officials Say
“Administration officials told a House hearing Thursday that mandatory quarantines of troops returning from Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa are not based on scientific considerations but intended to address operational issues. The House Foreign Affairs Committee took up why military and health care workers involved in the response follow different protocols when they return from the epicenter of the outbreak — an issue also raised at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday…” (Zanona, 11/13).

DoD News: USAID Administrator Praises DoD Effort in Ebola Fight
“Against the largest and most protracted Ebola outbreak in history, the U.S. military has made a Herculean effort and helped accelerate the critical response in Liberia, Administrator Rajiv Shah of the U.S. Agency for International Development told a House panel today…” (Pellerin, 11/13).

U.S. News: USAID Head Calls on Congress to Pass Ebola Funding
“…Speaking at a Brookings Institution event Wednesday, Dr. Rajiv Shah, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, said that shielding Americans from Ebola begins with eradicating the deadly disease in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea…” (Actman, 11/13).

Foreign Policy: Momentum to Fund Ebola Vaccine Research Grows in Congress
“…A bill drafted by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) that would allow the FDA to fund Ebola treatment research will be marked up next week by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee…” (Francis, 11/13).

The Hill: House Republican plans Ebola bill
“Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said Thursday plans to introduce a bill to bolster the government’s overseas efforts to fight Ebola. The bill, which he called the Ebola Emergency Response Act, calls for more treatment centers, better training for recruiting and training health care workers, and developing vaccines and treatments…” (Ferris, 11/13).

The Hill: GOP torn on Obama’s Ebola funding request
“Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) late Wednesday suggested Congress might supply funding to combat Ebola, but below President Obama’s new $6.2 billion request. On Fox Business Network’s ‘Lou Dobbs Tonight,’ Boozman said lawmakers are still looking over the comprehensive request…” (Shabad, 11/13).

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