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Trump Administration Requests Rescission Of $252M In 2015 Ebola Funds As Congo Addresses New Outbreak

The Atlantic: Ebola Returns Just as Trump Asks to Rescind Ebola Funds
“…The DRC’s main challenge [in addressing the latest Ebola outbreak] is its lack of resources. … ‘It’ll be the same story in West Africa,” [Emile Okitolonda, who leads the Kinshasa School of Public Health,] lamented, now that the catastrophic outbreak of 2014 is over. ‘Resources will disappear and people will forget.’ The United States is already forgetting. Just as news of the Ebola outbreak broke, Donald Trump asked Congress to rescind $252 million that had been put aside to deal with Ebola, as part of a broader move to cut down on ‘excessive spending.’ That pot of money is the leftover from a $5.4 billion sum that Congress appropriated for dealing with the West African Ebola epidemic in 2015. … Congress has 45 days from the time of Trump’s request to act, during which time the $252 million is frozen. If they vote it down, or simply ignore it, the funds will be spent as intended…” (Yong, 5/9).

Daily Beast: Ebola’s Back — And It Could Be Worse Thanks to Trump
“…In an email, a White House official familiar with the rescission deal told the Daily Beast that ‘The administration understands the risks posed by infectious disease threats such as Ebola, and that quick action is necessary to stop an outbreak at its source.’ Still, the official added that ‘we do not believe the funds proposed for rescission are necessary to respond to the DRC outbreak, due to the increased capabilities of the Congolese government and quick mobilization by partners in country.’ … In a detailed document from the Office of Management and Budget, the request said that the funds are no longer needed because the outbreak related to the actual appropriation has ended — a blinkered approach not shared by the global health community, which clearly sees more of an ongoing threat that needs careful management. … Much of the money in the original [2015] Ebola appropriation was designated to be available indefinitely. According to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation of the bill appropriating the funds, $3.74 billion of the total $5.4 billion was set aside for international response (the rest was for research and development, and domestic response); of that, $1.75 billion, given to USAID for various purposes, was designated ‘to remain available until expended’…” (Levitan, 5/10).