Two House subcommittees will host Ebola-related hearings this week. The Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a session Nov. 18 examining the public health response to the Ebola outbreak. It will feature testimony from Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response and Dr. Boris Lushniak, the acting U.S. surgeon general.
The House Subcommittee on Health will hold a session Nov. 19 focusing on medical product development in the wake of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Those presenting testimony for that hearing have yet to be announced.
“We need to confirm that the United States is … taking every precaution and fully preparing our healthcare system for additional cases here at home,” said Energy & Commerce chairman Fred Upton in a written statement. “Equally as important is stopping the spread of this horrific virus in West Africa and finding effective vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for Ebola, as well as the thousands of other diseases that lack remedies.” The hearings come as the Obama administration waits to see if Congress will approve its request for $6.2 billion in emergency funds to support efforts to prohibit the further spread of the Ebola virus and to treat infected people in other countries.
The Senate and House Appropriations Committees are assembling a spending package to fund federal programs for the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. The Ebola request would be folded into that bill. The legislation would need to be on the president's desk by Dec. 11, when current government funding runs out.