Congress to consider $2 billion for swine flu


The House Appropriations Committee will consider this week allocating more than $2 billion for combating H1N1, also known as swine flu.

President Barack Obama announced last week he wanted Congress to provide $1.5 billion to respond to the illness, which has sickened more than 1,000 worldwide. House Appropriations Chairman Dave Obey, D-Wisc., said Monday he wants to add an additional $350 million for state and local aid.

We have to be ready at the community level. There have been 11,000 public health layoffs at state and local public health departments in the last few years. That hurts our readiness status.”

He also wants to provide an additional $200 million to support global flu tracking and containment efforts, which will be available to government and non-governmental organizations. Money will be used for surveillance as well as for purchasing of anti-viral medications, he said.

The committee will take up the spending measures Thursday, Obey said, as part of the $94.2 billion supplemental bill for Iraq and Afghanistan appropriations. The bill is $9.3 billion over the White House’s request, Obey said.


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