Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter is urging fellow senators not to approve the Obama administration's $1 billion plan to fight the Ebola outbreak, citing the fact that the plan "focuses on Africa."
Writing to the members of the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Vitter urged, "I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed." Vitter went on to assail the White House plan because, he wrote, it "focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders.”
The Ebola outbreak originated in western Africa, where it has killed more than 3,800 people. As The Nation's Zoe Carpenter points out, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said today that west Africa needs twenty times more aid to combat the virus and address its public health consequences.
Under the Obama administration's proposal, the U.S. would use war operations budget funds to build health centers, deliver medical supplies, and train personnel on the ground. Obama unveiled the plan last month, but Carpenter notes that it has met fierce resistance in Congress as members seek more details.
Earlier this week, conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly offered her own thoughts on the Ebola outbreak and its origins in Africa, asserting that President Obama is intentionally allowing the virus' spread into the U.S. so that the country can become more like Africa.