GOP renews attack on Obama’s Ebola response

House Republicans are again aiming criticism at President Obama’s response to Ebola, renewing calls for travel bans and quarantines, even as public attention on the disease continues to wane.  

Rep. Tim Murphy, who leads the House Oversight Committee’s health subpanel, on Tuesday slammed the administration for repeatedly opposing policies that have been adopted by “respected institutions,” such as the U.S. military.

“It’s impossible for the American people to understand why the government would have one standard for the military and yet another standard for people who may have been in the same, or possibly more perilous, circumstances,” Murphy said at the hearing, which marks the first held by the House Oversight Committee in more than a month.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) urged the administration to keep all options on the table.

“I think it is of concern to us that the administration has been opposed to travel bans and quarantines — items that we think might work,” she said.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) added: “It’s old-fashioned, but an absolute ban and an absolute quarantine does work.”

Murphy was one of several Republicans who also called out Obama-appointed coordinator, Ron Klain, as “missing in action.” Klain has declined to testify at any congressional hearings, since he was appointed last month.

The chairman also said that the Obama administration must stop operating under “false assumptions” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

He pointed to the government’s assertion that “any hospital could treat an Ebola patient” and that healthcare workers would remain safe while treating an infected patient if they followed CDC guidelines. Health officials have shifted their stance on both issues in the wake of the Ebola infections in Dallas.   

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said the CDC’s missteps in Dallas had prompted him to lose confidence in the government’s overall response.

“When you get that call at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, you don’t have a lot of confidence that things are working as they should,” said Burgess, whose district includes part of Dallas.

CDC Director Tom Frieden defended the administration’s policies to keep Ebola out of the United States, including exit screenings and active monitoring.

“We are working intensively with hospitals across the U.S. to prepare for the possibility that they might have Ebola,” he said.

Tags Marsha Blackburn Michael Burgess
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