Friday, 11 May 2018 15:06

ASM Urges Congress to Make Ebola Emergency Funding Available

 

 

 

 

 

On behalf of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), we write in opposition to the
rescission of funding for the Ebola response as currently contained in H.R. 3, the ‘‘Spending
Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act.’’

The May 8, 2018 transmittal from the White House proposes that $252 million in prior year
balances of emergency funding appropriated in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 for the Ebola response be
rescinded because the funds are no longer needed “because the Ebola response has largely
concluded” and that the rescission would not impact the Ebola response.

It would be a mistake to rescind the $252 million that remains of the $5.4 billion in emergency
Ebola funding that was appropriated in FY 2015. This week, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in that country, prompting fears that the epidemic could
spread. Reportedly, the epidemic may have been underway for days or weeks before the
declaration. We cannot afford another situation where it takes months for the United States to
respond to a global outbreak of a deadly nature. The first cases of the previous Ebola outbreak
were identified in March 2014. Congress did not appropriate funding to respond to the crisis until
December 2014, after Ebola had already penetrated the U.S. border.

Congress has heard from emergency health preparedness officials and experts that a public
health emergency contingency fund is needed so the United States can respond to public health
emergencies, both declared and for which there is significant potential, in a timely manner. The
rescission of $252 million is shortsighted, contrary to these requests, and puts the American
public at risk unnecessarily to current and emerging health threats.

The ASM calls upon you and your congressional colleagues to continue to make available the
balance of FY 2015 Ebola emergency funding, and to work through the FY 2019 appropriations
process to create a robust public health emergency contingency fund that allows the United
States to respond rapidly to Ebola and other pandemics that threaten our homeland.

See the full letter to Congress.

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