Lawmakers approve $700 million to fight Ebola

SHARE Lawmakers approve $700 million to fight Ebola

WASHINGTON — The Republican chairmen of House panels that oversee the Pentagon signed off Thursday on an additional $700 million to pay for the military mission to help fight Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Thursday’s action by Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon and Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers would permit a total of $750 million in funds leftover for fighting in Afghanistan to be used to provide logistical help for health care workers in West Africa. The first $50 million was released last month.

RELATED: CDC director: Action needed on Ebola so it’s not our next AIDS

The administration originally requested $1 billion to send up to 4,000 troops to Africa. In briefings this week, McKeon said Pentagon officials estimate $750 million would cover a six-month mission that would include airlifting personnel, medical supplies, protective suits and equipment such as tents to house Ebola victims and isolate people exposed to the virus.

But an aide to Sen. James Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services panel, said the lawmaker has not signed off on the money. It takes the OK of the top Republican and Democrat on the House and Senate Armed Services and Appropriations panels to “reprogram” Pentagon funds. Democrats and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, have already agreed.

Inhofe is continuing to hold up the funds as he presses the administration for more details about the operation. Pentagon and administration officials briefed the senator and his staff on Wednesday, according to Inhofe’s spokeswoman, Donelle Harder.

The officials were unable to define a transition plan if the funds are spent in six months, as expected, Harder said. In addition, she said the officials were unable to thoroughly answer how troops would be protected from exposure to the disease. Inhofe briefly held up the initial installment of funding last month.

The approval of McKeon and Rogers, however, is a big step forward toward the releasing the money.

“I maintain concerns, particularly regarding the safety and security of our military personnel supporting this mission,” McKeon said. “Releasing these funds marks the beginning of the committee’s oversight of this important mission, not the end.”

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the Republican chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, said he still “has serious concerns about the safety and security of service members who have and will deploy to Liberia. We have no greater obligation than to ensure their well-being while they act on our behalf.”


The Latest
The Orioles announced his death in a joint statement with Robinson’s family Tuesday. The statement did not say how Robinson died.
The man, 27, was outside when someone drove up to him and a person inside the car fired shots.
El anuncio de la administración de Biden de la semana pasada sólo incluía a los venezolanos que llegaron antes de agosto. Alrededor del 40% de los migrantes no se beneficiarán de la posibilidad de encontrar trabajo más rápidamente.
Los federales señalaron que el dinero se generó “a través de la venta de miles de kilogramos de drogas en los Estados Unidos”.
El lanzamiento por parte del Presidente Joe Biden de la primera Oficina de Prevención de la Violencia Armada en la Casa Blanca genera esperanzas de que tal vez un esfuerzo nacional concertado, que supere la inacción del Congreso, finalmente reduzca el derramamiento de sangre.