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Obama Wants $6.2 Billion To Fight Ebola

The president is seeking the emergency funds for West Africa.

Posted on November 5, 2014, at 1:46 p.m. ET

President Barack Obama is asking Congress for $6.2 billion to fight Ebola in West Africa and prevent its spread in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The emergency funds would be divided into nearly $2 billion for the United States Agency for International Development, about $2.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, and more than $1.5 billion for a contingency fund, according to administration officials.

The Ebola funding request is Obama's first move following the Democrats' midterm election defeats Tuesday night. While poll results were still coming in, White House aides told BuzzFeed News that Ebola presented a chance for bipartisan agreement with the incoming Republican majority.

The White House views Ebola as apolitical, despite the roiling debate over Obama's handling of cases in the U.S. in the days leading up to the midterm elections. Republicans, who consistently argued for a stepped-up government response to the disease, have criticized Obama at every step and are unlikely to give him the money he wants without strings attached.

The White House wants Congress to take prompt action and approve the request during the current lame-duck session.

Kevin Smith, a spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner, told BuzzFeed News that the Appropriations Committee will review the request. "We'll continue to work with our members and the administration to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect the public from a deadly disease," he said.

The request includes, among others, resources for domestic and state hospitals, training and acquisition of protective equipment, contact tracing, burial teams, and testing and development of new vaccines.

Obama has maintained that the only way to keep Americans safe from Ebola is to stop the epidemic in West Africa.

The World Health Organization hired a new Africa director, Dr. Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, on Wednesday to deal with the outbreak in the region.

CORRECTION: Obama is seeking $6.2 billion to fight Ebola. An earlier version of this article misstated this number. (11/05/14)

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