Midnight In The Desert — congress

What Happened While America Waited for Zika Funding

Posted by K R on

What Happened While America Waited for Zika Funding

The Zika fight in the United States is finally about to be funded. On Wednesday, Congress approved a $1.1 billion deal, which is now waiting on President Barack Obama’s signature. The amount is less than the $1.9 billion the president originally asked for in February, but much more than the zero federal dollars the government’s been working with in the seven months since then. “Did that delay cause harm? Did that set you back?” Jonathan Karl, ABC News’s chief White House correspondent, asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, on Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum,...

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Zika Funding Fails Again in Congress

Posted by K R on

Zika Funding Fails Again in Congress

Congress came back from a seven-week break Tuesday and once again failed to move forward a bill that would pay for a federal Zika response. As senators traded barbs about whose fault it was, Florida health officials said they'd found seven more home-grown cases of Zika, six of them part of an outbreak in Miami Beach. Florida now has documented 56 locally transmitted cases of Zika infection, presumably passed by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that are active nearly year round in south Florida. President Barack Obama asked for $1.9 billion in emergency funding to fight Zika in February, but the Republican-dominated...

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Seeing the end of Obama’s space doctrine, a bipartisan Congress moves in

Posted by K R on

Seeing the end of Obama’s space doctrine, a bipartisan Congress moves in

Although it has been less than thrilled by NASA’s effective taboo on lunar exploration, Congress has adopted a good-cop approach toward the agency's asteroid-then-Mars human spaceflight plans during the last six years. In hearings, members have suggested that the space agency reconsider its human mission to an asteroid and perhaps work with Europe on some tentative plans to send humans to the surface of the Moon. But NASA hasn’t acquiesced to this gentle cajoling. During the recent appropriations process in the House, as Ars reported in May, members exercised the power of the purse to more forcefully nudge NASA back...

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U.S. Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science

Posted by K R on

U.S. Congress Aims to Cut Climate Science

Congress is considering spending bills that would significantly cut funding for key climate change research by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2017. Among the losers: the oldest carbon dioxide observatories on the planet, the ability to track fossil fuel emissions in the United States and a program to study ocean acidification. “We are asking for a small amount of money to do all the right things,” said James Butler, director of global monitoring at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL). The spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee last week allocates $128 million for NOAA’s...

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U.S. reports 279 Zika cases in pregnant women, Obama pushes Congress on funds

Posted by K R on

U.S. reports 279 Zika cases in pregnant women, Obama pushes Congress on funds

Health officials said 279 pregnant women in the United States and U.S. territories have tested positive for Zika infection, prompting a new call from President Barack Obama for more funding to fight the outbreak spreading through the Americas. Obama wants the U.S. Congress to provide close to $1.9 billion for vaccine development, faster diagnostic tests, and new tools for killing the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which can cause a rare birth defect in newborns and neurological disorders in adults. "We've got to get moving," Obama told reporters after meeting top health officials in the Oval Office. "This has to...

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