Cruz presses FAA for answers on Ebola

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzGOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending Pro-Trump super PAC raises .5 million in 6 weeks Trump has exposed Democratic hypocrisy on prison reform MORE (R-Texas) is demanding more details on the Federal Aviation Administration’s strategy to contain Ebola amid mounting public concerns about the disease’s spread through air travel.

Blasting the Obama administration’s “unclear approach to addressing the threat of the Ebola virus,” Cruz said people should know how the top U.S. travel officials are protecting them from Ebola on airlines.

Cruz highlighted travel restrictions enacted by several other countries and asked whether the FAA plans to limit or suspend flights. He also asked for more details about how airline workers are trained to recognize symptoms of the disease.

“It is imperative that the FAA take every available precaution in preventing additional cases from arriving in the United States,” Cruz wrote in a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. 

He said passengers’ safety was particularly important “in light of upcoming holiday travel season.”

More than a dozen African countries have enacted some type of limitation on entry from Ebola-affected areas, and seven countries have banned flights from those areas, according to the International SOS Foundation. Some of the world’s largest airlines have also suspended travel, including British Airways, Korean Air and Emirates Airlines. 

Officials from the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have maintained that limiting air travel would harm the global response to Ebola and place unneeded burdens on already strained nations. 

“We do not shut our borders to countries affected by Ebola,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said Thursday. He pointed to the U.S. response to pandemics like SARS and the H1N1 flu, in which the country’s borders also remained open.

Airport staff, assisted by the CDC, are already on high alert for infected passengers. 

The White House has said it will not impose travel restrictions and the FAA has said it will follow guidance by the administration.

Lawmakers' calls for a travel ban to West African countries intensified Thursday, when Liberian officials claimed that the man who brought Ebola to the U.S. had falsified travel documents. They said the man had been in contact with an Ebola-infected person days before boarding a flight to Dallas, but lied on a form.

Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis, who currently serves as state Speaker in north Carolina, said the Obama administration should “immediately” ban travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — the three countries worst affected.

“It makes absolutely no sense to risk more cases of Ebola in the United States by continuing to allow travel from Ebola-inflicted countries. It’s time for Washington to take action to protect the American people,” Tillis wrote in a statement Thursday.