Two members of Iowa’s congressional delegation say America needs to do more to seal off its borders to protect residents from the spread of Ebola. Senator Chuck Grassley says President Obama needs to “wise up and take action,” while Congressman Steve King says he’ll propose legislation next month that would bar all flights into the U.S. from places like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“We need to stop the flights that are coming in from the Ebola parts of the world,” King says. “Let’s get a handle on this, let’s understand it before we make mistakes that cannot be resolved.” Concerns are mounting after a nurse who cared for an Ebola patient in Texas was diagnosed with that potentially-deadly virus, even though all precautions were supposedly taken to prevent its spread.
King says broader restrictions on travel may be warranted. “Not only do we have flights coming in from places like Liberia, we also have people coming from Liberia into places like Central America, where they can travel up through Central America through Mexico and into the United States,” he says.
King, a Republican, says Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden is more concerned about politics than he is our nation’s health. “I have lost a lot of confidence in him,” King says. “When you have someone who is supposed to be giving us clear, concise, objective medical information and instead he gives us political answers. We don’t need PC out of the CDC.”
Senator Grassley, also a Republican, says he would “absolutely” support King’s measure when Congress returns from recess, but he says it may not be necessary. Grassley says, “I would hope that Congressman King doesn’t have to introduce his legislation, because I hope the president’s going to wise up and take action that he has the authority to do, the State Department, Homeland Security have the authority to do it.”
An Omaha hospital is treating its second Ebola patient at a special bio-containment unit, one of only four in the country.
The virus has killed more than 4,000 people during the latest outbreak, most of them in West Africa.
Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this story.