U.S. Republican Senator still undecided on Ebola funding increase

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 09, 2014 2:45 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican Senator James Inhofe has not yet agreed to release additional Defense Department funds for a military mission to fight Ebola in West Africa, his spokeswoman said on Thursday, citing concerns over protecting military staff and the mission's long-term future.

Approval by Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services committee, is the final sign-off needed for an increase in Pentagon Ebola funds to $750 million.

Two key House of Representatives lawmakers earlier on Thursday agreed to that amount after releasing only $50 million last week. The Obama administration had requested a shift of $1 billion from a war operations budget to the Ebola mission.

Inhofe spokeswoman Donelle Harder said that the Oklahoma Republican was still seeking information on the planned medical protocols to shield military personnel from virus exposure, as well as the mission's future once the $750 million runs out in about six months. She added that he hopes to have enough information to decide on the additional funds by Friday.

(Reporting By David Lawder; Editing by Sandra Maler)