Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | Rep. Renee Ellmers | Ebola | Travel Ban

Rep. Renee Ellmers: Obama Wrong to Oppose Ebola Travel Ban

By    |   Monday, 20 Oct 2014 03:00 PM

A Republican House member looking into the federal government's botched first response to Ebola says she is troubled by the White House's reluctance to ban travel from African countries where the latest outbreak originated.

"I'm not going to let up on this issue, as far as putting temporary [travel] restrictions in place," Rep. Renee Ellmers, of North Carolina, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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"This is the number-one issue we need to deal with first," said Ellmers, a member of the congressional oversight and investigations panel that grilled Tom Frieden, head of the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about Ebola on Thursday.

"Every person that I talk to, every constituent that I talk to — it is just common sense," Ellmers said of banning travelers to the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea."Everyone agrees that this is what we need to do."

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Ellmers said Frieden's future at the CDC is not her top priorty just now, and she described his plight sympathetically: "Dr. Frieden is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The real issue here is that we're not seeing leadership from our president."

But she agreed that Congress should investigate how the CDC operates, and whether its own bureaucracy was at fault in the slow-footed response to Ebola infections at a Dallas hospital.

"This is why we fight so hard against big, out-of-control government," said Ellmers, "because when the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, these are the things that happen in the meantime."

For now, she said, "the priority is making sure that the American people are safe, secure and taken care of in this situation. Thank goodness we have not had any further cases of the Ebola virus. That's very good because that's giving us time to work on this issue."

"The president needs to stand up for the American people, protect the American people, and make sure that threat of the Ebola virus coming and being transported here in the U.S. is closed off," Ellmers said of President Barack Obama.

"I don't know who the president is listening to" on this issue, she said.

A nurse for 21 years before she was elected to Congress, Ellmers said she is also focused on how two Dallas nurses who tended to a dying Ebola patient, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, themselves became infected, and why both were cleared to take personal trips after their exposure to Duncan.

"Nurses work with sick people every day," said Ellmers. "Yet this very serious virus affected those two nurses. It's very troubling to me."

She said the CDC is finally moving on the crisis — toughening protocols and protective gear requirements for the treatment of Ebola patients, and getting that information to hospitals quickly. She said her office is surveying hospitals in her congressional district about their readiness.

But she said more steps are needed — including the travel ban.

"We've got to make sure that, as Dr. Frieden says, isolate [Ebola] where it is, in west Africa," she said.

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A Republican House member looking into the federal government's botched first response to Ebola says she is troubled by the White House's reluctance to ban travel from African countries where the latest outbreak originated.
Rep. Renee Ellmers, Ebola, Travel Ban, CDC
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2014-00-20
Monday, 20 Oct 2014 03:00 PM
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