Washington – Rep. Rosa DeLauro has asked the Republican head of a panel with jurisdiction over the Department of Health and Human Services to convene a hearing as soon as possible on “the public threats posed by recent outbreaks of Ebola and Enterovirus D68,” a flu-like disease that targets children.
Congress is on break until after the Nov. 4 elections. But DeLauro, top-ranking Democrat on the Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations subcommittee sent the chairman of the panel, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., a letter “to ensure that Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health and the other public health agencies under our jurisdiction have sufficient resources to protect the public health and are taking the appropriate actions today to address it.”
When Congress reconvenes, the first order of business will be negotiating legislation that would fund all federal agencies, including those that are fighting Ebola and other diseases.
“Since Congress left Washington last month—the earliest we have recessed in over 50 years—the Ebola virus has found its way onto American soil and Enterovirus D68 has reached almost every state and is linked to the deaths of multiple children,” DeLauro wrote.
Also on Tuesday, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., urged the GOP-led House Armed Services and House Appropriations committees to approve a $1 billion request from President Obama to combat Ebola in West Africa with the help of American troops.
“One thing we know about stopping pandemics is that time is of the essence,” Murphy said. “Ebola has taken thousands of lives in West Africa and decimated already weak public health systems in these countries; without immediate help and resources, this epidemic will continue to spread.”