WASHINGTON — President Obama has a plan to fight the deteriorating ebola crisis. The proposed bill seeks to provide funding that provides immediate medical medical funds to contain the outbrake.
Since the outbreak in March, ebola has killed more than 6,000 people. The situation needs funding in order to support the African countries where the virus is most prevalent. When the bill was first proposed to congress, the Obama administration urged that the bill be passed quickly in order to benefit the countries quickly and efficiently.
After some debate over fund allocation, congress reached a deal. The package is split up into $4.64 billion that will go to immediate crisis relief. This includes training health care workers along with research and development for potential vaccines. The other part of the proposed legislation contained $1.4 billion in contingency funds which congress did not approve. The legislation went through congress which amended the specific numbers and designated purposes for the funds.
In addition to the $5.4 billion Obama received congress approved of an additional $400 million. These extra allotted funds will be utilized in the emergency portion of the bill that provides support for health workers and equipment. The bill allocates $1.7 billion for the Centers for Disease Control.
Obama praises the compromise reached in congress as a good decision carried out by a “divided” government. He stated, “Had I been able to draft my own legislation, get it passed without any Republican votes, I suspect it would be slightly different … That is not the circumstance we find ourselves in and I think what the American people very much are looking for is responsible governance and the willingness to compromise.”
There were amendments in the document that he did not approve of, however, but Obama was generally pleased that congress reached a consensus. The bill garnered overwhelming bipartisan support in congress as Republicans and Democrats supported the initiative to provide much needed medical support ensuring protection for health workers.
The amended bill provides funds to the National Institute of Health and to the Food and Drug Administration for research and development for new vaccines. Moreover, the bill provides substantial support to the International Disaster Assistance Fund in the form of $1.4 billion to support crisis funds.
The U.S. as well as other nations such as Canada and other governments have been key in assisting the containment of ebola in western African countries. Likewise, private philanthropic donations from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg and Bill Gates provide significant funds to the ebola crisis relief effort.
– Maxine Gordon