Durbin Meets With CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] –U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) met with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden for an update on the agency’s ongoing response to the Ebola outbreak both domestically and abroad. A photo from today’s meeting can be found here.

“As the Ebola outbreak claims thousands of lives in West Africa – and two here at home – the CDC continues to demonstrate how imperative it is that our federal agencies are prepared to respond to public health crises when they occur,” Durbin said. “My meeting today with Director Frieden was very productive. I will continue to work to increase funding for ground-breaking biomedical research, and make certain that efforts to protect public health continue to be a national priority.”

The current epidemic is the largest Ebola outbreak in history. In the United States, the CDC is continuing its work to help local health departments and hospitals assess needs, build lab capacity, train staff, and update infection control protocols in order to safely manage any potential Ebola patients. In order to assist with these efforts – and additional efforts to respond to and contain the outbreak overseas – the Obama Administration has requested $6.18 billion in emergency funding, including $1.83 billion specifically for the CDC.

Earlier this year, Durbin introduced the American Cures Act, would provide robust funding for the agency’s work in biomedical research, which includes the development of vaccines and other measures that could reduce the impact of public health crises like an Ebola outbreak. Introduced in February, the American Cures Act creates a trust fund to provide a mandatory funding increase to the four largest federal agencies involved in biomedical research: National Institutes of Health (NIH); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Department of Defense Health Program (DHP); and Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. The bill would increase funding for these research agencies at a rate of GDP inflation + 5%.  The new funding would start at $1.8 billion the first year and increase gradually each year for 10 years.  In all, the bill would dedicate $150 billion over the next decade for biomedical research.