Republican Congressman Steve King says it’s time to reconvene congress in emergency session to address a variety of concerns raised by the Ebola cases that have been diagnosed on U.S. soil.
“America needs to get a grip on this,” King told Radio Iowa. “Congress needs to get a grip on this and work with and give direction to the president of the United States.”
Priority one for King is a ban on flights into the U.S. from the west Africa.
“We have about 150 people a day coming from the Ebola regions, particularly Liberia, and we need to stop all of those flights,” King said. “None of them are worth spreading Ebola around the United States and we’ve seen how easily that can happen.”
AUDIO of King’s comments on Ebola during a Radio Iowa interview, 3:30
If there’s no travel ban, and the Obama Administration resists the idea, King said airline passengers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea who have a “legal right” to enter the U.S. should be placed under mandatory quarantine once they arrive.
“We know that they can travel and be a carrier,” King said.
A nurse who cared for the Ebola patient who died at a Dallas hospital and who now has tested positive for the deadly virus flew from Cleveland to Dallas after notifying the Centers for Disease Control that she had a low-grade fever just under 100. King said the Transportation Security Administration should develop a “no-fly” list for U.S. airports and put health care workers and others who come into contact with Ebola patients on it.
“The director of the (Centers for Disease Control), Tom Frieden, needs to step down,” King said. “He’s lost the credibility that he had that came with the title of his job, but he’s been wrong almost every time he’s stepped up and made a public statement…It looks like everything that we get from the government on Ebola has to first go through the White House’s political filter before it can be delivered to the American people.”
King is also questioning the U.S. military operation now underway in Africa, where American troops are building hospitals to care for Ebola patients. The president has just signed an executive order to call up national guard and reserve troops for the effort.
“Only volunteers should go to a place like that, not be ordered into the unknown, unseen killer of Ebola,” King said. “And our medical teams, to the extent that they go and they do — God bless them for doing that — but I would say slow down for 21 days in quarantine before you come out into the broader society when you come home.”
King said it’s time for congress “to bring everything out in the open” and have a debate on the House floor about this “life or death disease.”
“This should not be a partisan issue,” King said. “It shouldn’t be politics. We shouldn’t have the sense that this is a political equation for anybody in this, but it looks like they may prepare to tell us the truth after the election.”
The Centers for Disease Control argues a ban on flights into the U.S. from west Africa might encourage residents there to find another way into the U.S., undermining the screening set up at U.S. airports for flights from west Africa and making it more difficult to identify travelers with Ebola symptoms. Obama Administration officials say the monitoring set up at five American airports should screen 94 percent of travelers from west Africa.