Mikulski to hold hearing on Ebola funding

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Monday the panel will hold a hearing on fighting the spread of Ebola — the latest indication Congress is preparing to consider additional funding to deal with the virus.

The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6, two days after the midterm elections and about a week before senators are set to return to Washington to pass a broader bill to fund the government. The Obama administration has not yet indicated publicly whether it will seek more money to confront Ebola.


There are signs Ebola is waning as a political issue, particularly after health officials lifted a quarantine Monday on dozens of people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died of the virus in Dallas. Still, many Republicans and some Democrats are pushing for a travel ban from hard-hit countries in West Africa.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has scheduled a separate hearing Friday to discuss the government's response to the health crisis.

Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, did not say who would testify at the hearing.

Congress is scheduled to return after the election to meet a Dec. 11 deadline to pass a funding bill to keep the federal government open. The current stop-gap funding measure, which was signed by President Obama last month, included $88 million to fight the virus.

Since then two nurses who cared for Duncan contracted the virus. One of them, Nina Pham, who has been hospitalized at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. NIH officials say Pham is in fair condition.

The White House has not said whether it will seek additional funding or how much it believes might be required.

"We have not made any decisions about whether additional resources are necessary," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last week. "But if we determine that they are we'll certainly be working closely with our partners in Congress to try to get them."