House Ebola hearing planned at Dallas airport

The House Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing on the Ebola epidemic Friday at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the panel’s chairman announced Monday. 

The event is designed to explore what Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) called the “interconnected nature of our world, [where] threats to the homeland are only a flight away.”

{mosads}”Effective coordination at all levels of government and with our international partners is vital for all aspects of our security, whether it be working to combat the threat posed by terrorists such as ISIS, addressing the porous southwest border or the prevention of Ebola reaching our shores,” McCaul, the committee’s chairman, said in a statement.

The hearing follows rising calls from the GOP for the Obama administration to ban travel from countries affected by Ebola.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) argues the move would actually hamper the U.S. response to the outbreak, putting Americans further at risk.

The debate shows no sign of quieting. McCaul’s choice of venue for his hearing — the airport — appears intended to bring new force to calls for a travel ban.

“At this hearing key federal and state officials will discuss the efforts that have been taken to respond to the first case of Ebola in the United States,” McCaul said.

“We will also examine ways we can continue to improve our preparedness and capabilities, particularly when it comes to screening passengers entering the country.”

The widely covered Ebola case in Dallas remains the only U.S. diagnosis of the virus despite hundreds of false alarms around the country.

The CDC is receiving up to 800 calls a day related to Ebola, many of which are from healthcare facilities that fear a patient may have the virus.

McCaul’s will be the second congressional hearing on Ebola scheduled for the election-year recess.

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight will hear testimony on the epidemic Oct. 16.  

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