Texas lawmakers to introduce Ebola travel ban legislation

Two Texas Republican lawmakers plan to introduce legislation banning travel between the U.S. and Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. 

The Friday announcement from Reps. Kenny Marchant and Sam JohnsonSam JohnsonOvernight Finance: House votes to rein in IRS; Ryan won't set Puerto Rico timeline House GOP grills IRS head on illegal immigrants' tax returns House GOP chairman narrowly survives primary challenge MORE was made the same day the White House disclosed President Obama would appoint Democratic operative Ron Klain to oversee the interagency response to Ebola. 

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Marchant said the U.S. is "behind the curve" for combatting the spread of the deadly virus and called the pair's bill, dubbed the Stop Ebola Act, a "proactive approach" to preventing more cases of Ebola in the U.S. 

“We have both called on the President for travel and visa restrictions from Ebola-affected countries, but he is refusing to listen to the American people and do the right thing," Johnson said in a statement. 

The legislation will halt travel visas for non-U.S. citizens heading to the U.S. from countries combatting the virus, including Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, and would apply to any country that has an Ebola outbreak in the future, based on World Health Organization designations.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) said Thursday he would introduce a bill to restrict visas for those leaving West African nations hardest hit by the disease. 

Nearly 70 lawmakers, including some Democrats, have come out in support of a travel ban, a move Obama has pushed back against. 

The pair of Texas lawmakers hope to introduce the legislation after Congress reconvenes Nov. 12.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient in the U.S., died last week in Dallas. Two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital have since tested positive for the virus and are undergoing treatment.

This post was updated at 7:24 p.m.

 

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