GOP lawmakers call for CDC director to resign

Two Republican lawmakers are calling for the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to resign after it was reported a second healthcare worker in Dallas contracted the virus.

Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) said CDC Director Tom Frieden should resign “immediately,” faulting the health agency’s communications.  

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In a statement, he charged that information released to the public has been “cryptic and in some cases misleading,” lending to a “false sense of security.”

“That is exactly the opposite of the CDC director's primary responsibilities — to communicate clearly and honestly. I have no ill will towards him personally but he should resign his position effective immediately,” he said.

Separately, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), when pressed by conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on her show if Frieden should resign, said, "My opinion is yes." 

Sessions, chairman of the House Rules Committee, called Dallas “ground zero” for Ebola and charged that the Obama administration has been playing defense. 

Sessions and Marino made the comments the same day it was announced the second health worker had contracted Ebola. That worker also traveled from Cleveland to Dallas a day before showing symptoms of the disease, but after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola last week.

Sessions and other Texas Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Kenny Marchant, have called for a ban on those traveling to the U.S. from three nations in West Africa fighting the disease.

Frieden and the administration have opposed the ban.

Revealing details of a phone conversation with Frieden, Sessions said the administration has “not come up with a better answer” than a travel ban. 

Frieden and other health officials are scheduled to testify at a congressional hearing Thursday to explain the U.S. response to the Ebola cases in the U.S. 

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) came to Frieden's defense, saying in a statement that he and others in the CDC "are working tirelessly" to educate the public about the virus and federal response. She also pushed back on calls for a travel ban. 

White House press secretary Josh Earnest also expressed confidence in Frieden at a briefing Wednesday afternoon, adding, “pointing fingers of blame will not be constructive.” 

Darrell Henry, executive director of Healthcare Coalition for Emergency Preparedness, said while people on the ground level are turning to CDC for answers, state and local officials still "hold a lot of authority."

Henry, who has closely followed the response in Dallas, said it's too early to know where the breakdowns happened. 

"There's been mistakes made obviously across the board, obviously, and we can wallow in that or we can say, what can we do now to save lives?" he said.

Sarah Ferris contributed.

This post was updated at 7:16 p.m.