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Obey seeks federal funding for swine flu battle

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Ellsworth, 54011
Ellsworth Wisconsin 126 S. Chestnut St. 54011

House Appropriations Chairman David Obey of Wausau says he'll push for more federal funding to fight the possible spread of swine flu.

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Obey says if the current outbreak doesn't cause a pandemic, some other virus will and the government needs to be prepared as soon as possible.

He's seeking more funds in war appropriations bill that's now floating on Capitol Hill.

Earlier this year, Congress removed $900 million from the economic stimulus package to fight a flu pandemic. That was a part of a failed last-minute effort to get Republicans to support the massive spending plan.

Now, public health supporters are saying Congress was too hasty and short-sighted in removing the flu preparation funds.

In the meantime, Washington has doubled the vaccine supply it has given to Wisconsin. And the state says it's ready to quickly immunize 550,000 people if necessary.

Meanwhile, a 23-month-old child in Texas has become the first American to die in the current swine flu outbreak. And neighboring Illinois and Minnesota both report their first probable cases.

Wisconsin has not had any confirmed swine flu cases. Sixty-five have been reported nationwide.

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