The Agenda Project is a US liberal advocacy group, founded by author and strategist, Erica Payne.

Payne claims that thousands of deaths overseas due to Ebola, were due to Republican policies towards cutting government spending.

Payne said that there's "no question" that the Ebola death on U.S. soil would not have happened if Republicans weren't so focused on cutting government spending.


Both the CDC and NIH were impacted by the sequester, across-the-board spending cuts that went into effect in 2013 when Republicans and Democrats in Congress could not come to an agreement on specific cuts that would offset the automatic slashing.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) Budget summary for 2000-2013 seems to show that spending for the NIH went up in the years Republicans controlled the White House, and has only gone down since Democrats took the White House.

Just bottom line numbers from the PDF:

year:   2000      |  2001      |  2002      |  2003      |  2004      |   2005     |  2006

total: 17,813,739 | 20,513,056 | 23,188,233 | 26,739,904 | 28,099,772 | 28,626,151 | 28,532,979

year:   2007      |  2008      |  2009      |  2010      |  2011      |  2012      |  2013

total: 29,033,869 | 29,319,954 | 30,206,690 | 31,036,218 | 30,630,328 | 30,802,123 | 29,129,085

(numbers in thousands, so first number is 17.8 billion US$)


  • Did cuts happen to the NIH and CDC?
  • Have those cuts hurt the CDC's and NIH's effort to fight ebola?
  • Were those cuts due to Republican policies?
  • 3
    I'm confused. Your numbers show that the decline started in 2011, directly after Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives (and gained seats in the Senate as well). Both houses were majority Democrat the four years prior, so "since the Democrats took the White House and Senate" makes no sense to me.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:05
  • 2
    Those numbers aren't inflation adjusted are they? Also, I believe that one factor that Dr. Collins cited that hurt them was the government shut down, which IS directly attributed to the tea party faction in the GOP.
    – JasonR
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:13
  • 1
    @ryan Maybe. In the last twenty years, though, the Senate has actually been more evenly controlled by both parties. The House has only been majority Democrat for 4 of the last 20. My main problem is that by simply looking at majority control, you're ignoring all the other things that go into it. Filibustering, budget negotiations, etc... Just because a chamber is "controlled" by a party doesn't mean they can do whatever they want, especially with the budget.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:13
  • 1
    Judging from this related ad, I believe the bill/vote they're basing this claim on is this one in early 2011 (which is indeed split almost perfectly on party lines). Reading the text of the bill is mind-numbing, though (like most legislation), so if anyone else finds anything relevant in it, that would be fine by me :)
    – Is Begot
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 17:35
  • 1
    Please take any further discussion about which party was in charge to this chat room: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/17934/…
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


There are three questions:

  1. Did cuts happen?
  2. Have those cuts hurt the CDC's and NIH's effort to fight ebola?
  3. Were those cuts made by Republicans?

Here's an answer to the first question (only).

In Erosion of Funding for the National Institutes of Health Threatens U.S. Leadership in Biomedical Research, look at the second graph -- the NIH spending in constant dollars:

enter image description here

It's been declining for a decade now. The graph is more alarmist than it needs to be but you can see the trend anyway.

  • 3
    For those with little knowledge of American politics, who does control Congress? Have they controlled it since 2003? Is it true to say that "Control of Congress" means "controls the budget", and if so then can you speculate why does the OP talks about the White House instead of Congress?
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 0:37
  • @ChrisW In American politics the president creates the budget. The Republicans in Congress has routinely simply thrown out what the President proposed and created their own. As for who controls Congress: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/72/… Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 1:44
  • 3
    What is the answer in this answer? At the start of the decline, Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress. Then Democrats controlled both. Then it was split (to present). It declined in all those periods. Also, the President writes a budget request, but writing the actual budget is Congress's job.
    – Is Begot
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 1:48
  • 1
    I edited to clarify you're answering one part of the question. I also removed the comment about congress, because it added nothing to the answer (e.g. it didn't even begin to answer "did Republicans do it").
    – ChrisW
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 9:07
  • 1
    Please take any further discussion about which party was in charge to this chat room: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/17934/…
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 23:47

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