Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) called on Speaker John Boehner on Monday to reconvene an emergency session of Congress to address the threat of Ebola against the United States.
“This means putting in place a travel ban from regions affected by Ebola- namely, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, as well as no longer issuing temporary visas for individuals from these countries,” said Broun in a statement.
He continues: “Exceptions should only be allowed for American citizens attempting to leave these affected regions, and for humanitarian workers entering West Africa seeking to combat this deadly disease. Air travel is what brought this virus to the United States, and in order to contain it, we must prevent it from entering our country further.”
Broun, who is a general practitioner of medicine, also questions why the National Guard is to be sent to West Africa to handle the Ebola crisis as opposed to “the southern border so that we can seal and secure our border once and for all.” He concludes, “It is my hope that the President will start working towards this end — and if he fails to do so, then it is the duty of Congress to protect the health and well-being of American citizens.”
Although a bipartisan group of lawmakers are telling the president to institute travel restrictions between the U.S. and West Africa, President Obama remains adamant that he does not want to establish a travel ban.
“I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban, if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe,” Obama told reporters at the White House recently. “It is currently the judgment of all of those involved that a flat-out travel ban is not the best way to go.”
Boehner said last week that President Obama should “absolutely consider” a travel ban “from countries afflicted with the virus” and laid out several actions that Congress is currently doing in light of the Ebola crisis.
“Numerous committees – including the House Armed Services Committee and the Committees on Appropriations, Homeland Security, Energy & Commerce, Foreign Affairs, and Transportation & Infrastructure – are actively assessing the administration’s response, and hearings have already begun,” he stated.
According to Boehner, the Homeland Security Committee held a hearing in Dallas to examine the federal, state, and local response to the crisis.
“The Energy & Commerce Committee will hear from the CDC and NIH to look into their response to the crisis. These oversight efforts will continue, and the House stands ready to act if it becomes clear legislation is needed to ensure the threat is countered aggressively and effectively,” he said.