IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 7, 2019
Mr. Menendez introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
To authorize activities to combat the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Ebola Eradication Act of 2019.
Congress makes the following findings:
The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which began in August 2018 in eastern Congo, has resulted in 1,554 total cases, and 1,029 deaths.
Despite the use of preventive tools and new therapeutics, insecurity and community resistance to response efforts remain major obstacles to ending the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the outbreak continues to spread.
Hospitals, health clinics, and Ebola clinics have been repeatedly attacked by armed actors.
On February 28, 2019, Doctors Without Borders suspended its work in Ebola epicenters after two treatment centers were attacked.
On April 19, 2019, Dr. Richard Valery Mouzoko Kiboung, an epidemiologist from Cameroon deployed by the World Health Organization to eastern Congo to help stop the outbreak, was killed in an attack on Butembo University Hospital.
In the wake of Dr. Kiboung’s death, healthcare workers responding to Ebola have threatened to go on strike unless the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo takes steps to improve security.
The Administration released a November 29, 2018, Presidential Memorandum implementing aid restrictions to most countries on Tier 3 of the 2018 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) report that fully restricted non-humanitarian, non-trade related aid to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Section 110(d)(5)(B) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107(d)(5)(B)) states,
The President shall exercise the [waiver] authority under paragraph (4) when necessary to avoid significant adverse effects on vulnerable populations, including women and children..
The President has not exercised the waiver authority provided for in section 110(d)(5)(B) of the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act of 2000 in relation to health, education, or community outreach activities essential to the success of the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The United States is a critical partner in helping the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo end the current outbreak.
Authorization to address the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development is authorized to provide assistance for efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, to the extent necessary, in other countries, including assistance intended to lower community resistance to interventions that the Administrator assesses will facilitate efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak.
Report to Congress
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development shall submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a report—
describing the actions the Administrator has taken and plans to take under section 3(a) to end the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo; and
proposing any additional legal authorities required to improve the response to the Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.