Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Homeland Security | west | Africa | travel | ban

Bipartisan Support for Ebola Travel Ban Growing in House

By    |   Monday, 20 Oct 2014 09:17 PM

Although the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several prominent Republicans in Congress have come out against a travel ban on visitors from western Africa, support for such a ban has been growing among Democrats and other Republicans as the best means to keep Ebola out of this country.

Last week, 25 House members signed a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to initiate a ban on travel to the U.S. from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, countries where Ebola has claimed more than 4,500 lives so far.

Led by freshman Rep. Robert Pittenger, a North Carolina Republican, the letter calls for "immediate and decisive action" to prevent further spread of the Ebola virus, and specifically says the U.S. "needs to institute travel restrictions, enhanced airport screening, and possible quarantine of individuals who have traveled to, or from, the west African countries that have been most impacted by this tragic Ebola epidemic."

Joining Pittenger and 21 other junior House Republicans in signing the letter were liberal Democratic Reps. Alan Grayson of Florida, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Dave Loebsack of Iowa.

"This is just the beginning," Pittenger, chairman of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, told Newsmax. "There will be other letters and other signers on this issue coming very soon."

Pittenger spoke to Newsmax two days after Rep. Joe Pitts, a North Carolina Republican and chairman of the House Energy Subcommittee, told Newsmax that he opposed a travel ban because it "would be impossible to enforce."

Pitts said he agreed with CDC Director Tom Frieden that "the problem with a ban on people coming to the U.S. from [west Africa] is that carriers would simply go to other countries and get a flight to the United States."

"There is no perfect model," said Pittenger, "but one way that could possibly ensure the success of a travel ban would be to pull visas. In other words, we won't permit visas from people in the three west African countries who want to come to the United States."

In noting that the call for a travel ban was a bipartisan one in Congress and predicting there would be more signers among Democratic lawmakers, Pittenger noted that his state's Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan has already endorsed the ban.

"She knows it's the right thing to do," Pittenger said of Hagan, who faces a tough re-election battle next month.

Pittenger also branded as "nonsensical" the president's "waiting for direction from the World Health Organization."

"I'm sure the WHO did a lot of good in the past," he told Newsmax, "but it is also an organization whose board members include countries who aren't focused on what's good for America: China, Cuba, Russia, and Iran, for example.

"It's amazing to me how we wait for others to determine our course of action. Where's the leadership in deferring to everyone else in the world rather than just taking action? Would Harry Truman have deferred at a moment like this? Or Jack Kennedy? Or Ronald Reagan? None of them would have waited."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

 




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Although the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several prominent Republicans in Congress have come out against a travel ban on visitors from western Africa, support for such a ban has been growing among Democrats and other . . .
west, Africa, travel, ban
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2014-17-20
Monday, 20 Oct 2014 09:17 PM
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