Public/Global Health

GOP floats Gates, Powell for Ebola czar

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) are urging President Obama to tap an Ebola czar to oversee the U.S. effort to stop the global outbreak, and they have a few ideas about who should get the job.

Their suggestions include former Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. All had been  members of the Bush administration. Gates also served in the Obama administration as Secretary of Defense.

{mosads}“By drawing on their expertise and international relationships, these respected statesmen could bolster your Administration’s efforts and help lead a united, global response to this serious threat to public health and security,” Moran and Wolf said.

The Republican lawmakers told Obama in a letter Monday that designating a single point-person was necessary to coordinate the tangle of federal agencies fighting against Ebola.

They also requested more details about Obama’s national strategy to combat Ebola, raising concerns about the lack of “clear organizational structure and chain of command.”

The U.S. has taken the lead in fighting the outbreak internationally. Cabinet members across the administration have been mobilized to fight the outbreak from the fields of health, military, homeland security and international aid.

The cross-government response has drawn criticism from lawmakers, particularly those involved in funding what is expected to be a $1 billion effort.

Moran, ranking member of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on health, said last week that the lack of a central U.S. authority on Ebola has hindered lawmakers’ ability to confront the crisis’s major funding challenges.

“There is no person to go to, to tell us how all this is going to be funded,” Moran said. “And I don’t think there is a plan internationally to bring the folks together to combat this.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that the U.S. already has a point person on Ebola efforts – Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism

Tags Frank Wolf Jerry Moran

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