David Perdue backs UGA on canceling journalist visit because of Ebola fear

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful David Perdue sent out a press release today supporting the University of Georgia's decision not to allow a Liberian journalist speak in Athens because of Ebola concerns.

“The Ebola crisis continues to be a serious concern here in Georgia. The President’s lack of leadership on the matter is putting American lives at risk. The national response to Ebola must be a comprehensive, well-coordinated effort that includes a travel ban from Ebola-stricken countries. I'm encouraged to see The University of Georgia take additional precautions to prevent the spread of this disease and protect our students and communities. Our federal government must follow their lead and enact a travel ban immediately.”

Expect to see plenty more from Perdue on Ebola. It's a handy, newsy way to criticize President Barack Obama, whom Perdue ties with Democrat Michelle Nunn at every opportunity. Nunn has also called for a travel ban.

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Rep. Jack Kingston, the Savannah Republican who lost to Perdue in the Senate runoff, is also pushing back against the latest Democratic line of attack that Republican budget cuts hurt development of an Ebola vaccine.

Kingston runs the House appropriations subcommittee that oversees health funding, and he fired off a letter to Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health. From the Hill's account:

Collins last week told the left-leaning Huffington Post that if the NIH hadn't experienced a 10-year slide in research support, "we probably would have had a vaccine in time" for the current Ebola crisis. His comments have met with fire on the right, where conservatives have argued budget cuts are not responsible for the lack of an Ebola vaccine.

Kingston offered a series of pointed questions to Collins, including a request for a list of research proposals over the last 10 years for an Ebola vaccine that weren’t funded because of a lack of money.

He also asked for details regarding ongoing Ebola vaccine research and its funding, and questioned whether any of the $10 billion in NIH funding from the 2009 stimulus were put toward vaccine development.

Kingston also asked if the NIH would have sufficient funds if Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathewss Burwell does not apply an internal funding reduction to the agency. 

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