Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee expressed shock at the Obama administration’s decision to tap a political operative with no health background as his so-called Ebola czar.
“This appointment is both shocking and frankly tone deaf to what the American people are concerned about,” Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) said in a statement. “Installing yet another political appointee who has no medical background or infectious disease control experience will do little to reassure Americans who are increasingly losing confidence with the Administration’s Ebola strategy.”
Friday the Obama administration named of Ron Klain to be the Ebola Response Coordinator, or “Ebola czar.” Klain is a former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden.
Murphy’s committee held a hearing on the Ebola threat Thursday. During the hearing and after Republican lawmakers called for a travel ban and expressed concern about the level of leadership.
“I was glad the president got off the campaign trail to finally focus on Ebola, but with this appointment of a ‘czar’ with no health background, he just got right back on,” House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) added, nothing that Americans are “petrified about the preparedness and response efforts.”
According to Upton and Murphy a new figurehead is not the answer, but rather a real strategy to confront the threat, specifically instating a travel ban.
“Changes we can advance right now to protect the public health include travel restrictions, stronger quarantine measures, and expedited review and approval of therapies and vaccines for Ebola. Keeping an open-door travel policy that relies on an honor system is deeply troubling to Americans because, as we’ve seen with the known U.S. cases of Ebola infection, the screening, self-monitoring and self-reporting at airports have been demonstrated failures and put Americans at risk,” Murphy added.