House Speaker John Boehner said President Barack Obama should consider a temporary ban on travel to the U.S. from countries where the Ebola virus is rampant.
“This administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home,” Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said in an e-mailed statement today.
In addition, two Republican lawmakers called for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas R. Frieden’s resignation, saying he mishandled the cases of two health-care workers in Texas who contracted Ebola.
Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, a member of the House Republican leadership, told talk show host Laura Ingraham that Frieden had failed to prevent the spread of the virus to two health workers who cared for a man who died of the disease in Dallas. Representative Tom Marino of Pennsylvania also called for Frieden to quit, saying that the “Ebola situation is beginning to spiral beyond control.”
Sessions, whose district is home to the hospital where the Ebola patients were treated, and Marino commented after the agency said today that the second Texas health worker who tested positive for Ebola flew from Dallas to Cleveland and back before reporting she had symptoms.
Some congressional lawmakers, especially Republicans, have criticized the Obama administration’s response to the threat of Ebola spreading in the U.S. Some in addition to Boehner have called for a temporary ban on travelers entering the country from the West African nations battling the disease.
Among those pressing for a travel ban is Representative Ed Royce, who urged the Obama administration today to suspend the issuance of U.S. travel visas to foreign nationals in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, where an outbreak this year has claimed more than 4,000 lives.
“This is a reasonable and immediately implementable containment measure that may help mitigate the risk of further translocation to the United States, while not impeding the U.S. response to the epidemic,” Royce, a California Republican and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Frieden, the CDC chief, has previously rejected calls for a travel ban from West Africa and has said that flights to and from the region are needed for health workers and supplies to help combat the disease. He’s scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee tomorrow.