In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday, the president called anti-Ebola efforts an issue of national security.
Administration officials say $2 billion of the total would be apportioned to the United States Agency for International Development and $2.4 billion would go to the Department of Health and Human Services. More than $1.5 billion would be for a contingency fund to deal with any unanticipated developments like a flare-up in West Africa or a need to vaccinate U.S. health care workers.
Immediate spending would be used to strengthen the public health system in the U.S., combat the epidemic in West Africa, and speed up the development and testing of vaccines and other therapies. The money also would be used to help vulnerable foreign countries detect and respond to the disease.
The administration would establish more than 50 Ebola treatment centers throughout the country, procure safety suits, and more strictly monitor travelers on their arrival in the U.S.
The White House is asking for prompt action, meaning it wants approval during the current lame duck session, while Democrats are still in control of the Senate.
Republicans already control the House, but conservatives won’t officially takeover control of the Senate until next January. Already the parties have vocally disagreed with each other about instituting a travel ban and on how to handle aid workers who return to the U.S. after providing medical assistance in West Africa.