How Time's 'Person of the Year' Fared in the Cromnibus

The bill offers millions for training health care workers, researching vaccines, and offering aid abroad.
Photograph By: Pool/Getty Images

After weeks of teasing embarrassing “person of the year” possibilities like Kim Kardashian and Vladimir Putin, Time magazine has actually awarded the brave men and women who have risked their lives to fight Ebola—specifically the people who are treating the disease in West Africa, running medical clinics, and working on vaccines and treatments.

Time profiled ambulance workers, doctors, nurses, and clinic workers in West Africa, but also the Americans who’ve become the face of the U.S. Ebola debates: Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who contracted Ebola while treating Liberian national Thomas Duncan, raising concerns about whether American hospitals and their nurses are trained to handle the disease; and Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined in New Jersey and Maine against her will. 

Besides the work they’ve done in West Africa, the Americans working to treat Ebola briefly made it a national issue (the media’s attention span is short), and President Barack Obama asked for $6.18 billion to fight the disease abroad, fund efforts by the Departments of Defense, State and Health, and provide money to help train nurses and doctors here in the U.S.

Of that ask, he received about $5.4 billion, as some members of Congress have hinted he would. A large chunk of the difference between the president’s request and the bill comes from Congress declining to allocate $1.54 billion for a contingency fund. Last week Senator Lindsey Graham, the lead Republican negotiator, told the Associated Press that he didn’t want the contingency fund to turn into a “slush fund.”

Instead, Congress added an extra $400 million to the president’s request for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund. The fund will be used for protective gear and training, Ebola treatment centers, and medical research.

The bill also grants $1.7 billion to the Centers for Disease Control (including $10 million specifically for training health care workers), $238 million for the National Institute of Health, $25 million for the Food and Drug Administration to research vaccines, and $1.4 billion for the International Disaster Assistance fund. During Wednesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the administration is “pleased” with the summary of the funding.

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