White House Requests Emergency Funding for Ebola Epidemic

On November 5, the White House sent a request to Congress for $6.18 billion in emergency funding to aid in the Ebola response. According to Politico, about $4.64 billion will be available to meet immediate needs and the rest would be held in a contingency fund.

The funding would include $2.43 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, including $1.83 billion for CDC to assist with the epidemic in West Africa and to strengthen health security in the U.S. An additional $238 million will support clinical trials for vaccines and medicines at NIH. Another $2.1 billion would be for the Department of State and international aid programs, which includes $1.98 billion (of which $1.4 billion is for disaster assistance) for USAID.

The proposed funding will most likely be included in the FY15 appropriations bill, which Congress will take up when they reconvene for a lame-duck session later this month. As there are budget caps in place for FY15, the President hopes to get around these caps, which would require offsetting cuts, by designating the additional funding as emergency spending.

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, stated that the Committee would evaluate the request at a hearing on November 12 with witnesses from federal agencies responding to the Ebola epidemic. The hearing will be streamed live starting at 2 pm EST.