1:26 pm – Issa’s Closing Statement — Charlie Spiering
In his closing statement, Chairman Issa (R-CA) observed that additional travel restrictions and quarantines would be difficult to enforce.
1:13 pm – Why Not a Quarantine? — Charlie Spiering
Rep. John Mica (R-FL) explained during the hearing that he wanted to see some common sense demonstrated by government officials and suggested a quarantine.
12:40 pm – Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) asks if US military deployed to combat Ebola in West Africa will be given best Ebola care and new drugs like ZMapp if infected.
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) October 24, 2014
12:35 pm – Reuters: Republicans take aim at U.S. Ebola response as fourth case emerges
“(Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s response to Ebola ran into fresh criticism from Republicans in Congress on Friday, as the emergence of a fourth U.S. case in New York City heightened public anxiety about the potential spread of the virus.”
Read the rest of the article here.
12:20 pm – Rep Blake Farenthold (R-TX), noting that his wife is a nurse, says he’s offended by the CDC “throwing the nurses under the bus.”
12:08 pm – Rep. Trey Gowdy questions HHS Assistant Secretary on Ebola Czar — Charlie Spiering
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) grilled Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Nicole Lurie during the hearing, questioning why President Obama would appoint a political operative to head up the government response to the Ebola crisis.
Gowdy questioned Lurie why she was not in charge of the response, citing her “vast and varied” background on medicine and communications.
“Why in the hell did the president pick a lawyer to be the Ebola czar and not you?” he asked, referring to OBama’s selection of Ron Klain as an Ebola czar.
“Right now I have a full time job,” she said, noting that she was appreciative of Gowdy’s complements. She also stated that she had complete confidence in Klain.
Part of the Ebola response, Lurie said, was government coordination citing the “whole of government response” to the crisis.
“One of the terrific things about the way that the government works together is that experts come together all of the time,” Lurie said.
“Why pick a lawyer?” Gowdy asked. “Call my cynical, it just appears to be political.”
12:01 pm – Rep. Jim Jordan blasts HHS Assistant Secretary for wasteful spending –Charlie Spiering
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) grilled Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Nicole Lurie on the use of appropriated funds for citing reports about the National Institute of Health promoting elderly people to join choirs, funding fruit and vegetable puppet shows for preschoolers, and other wasteful projects. Jordan questioned whether the funds could be better used to develop a vaccine for Ebola.
“Might we be a little closer to having a vaccine today if you weren’t allowing all this millions of dollars, $39 million to be spent on what many Americans view as questionable uses for their tax dollars, particularly in the light of the fact that we have an Ebola outbreak in the United States?” asked Jordan.
“I don’t believe that would be the case,” Lurie said, reminding Jordan that it was a lengthy process to develop a vaccine.
“I’m not in a position to comment on the overall NIH budget,” she concluded.
11:49 am – Pandemic Supplies Expired
— Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) October 24, 2014
11:37 am – Department of Defense says soldiers are washing their hands in chlorine solution and getting their temperatures taken every day
11:32 am – Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asks CDC doctor about NIH money spent on “puppet shows for preschoolers,” and decries $39 million spent on wasteful projects.
11:30 am – Massachusetts Democrat Calls For More Travel Restrictions From Ebola Stricken Countries — Charlie Spiering
Rep. Steven Lynch (D-MA) questioned the ability for people exposed to Ebola having the ability to travel from Africa to the United States before symptoms appeared.
Lynch suggested that people exposed to the disease in Africa should be forced to wait 21 days before their flight, to make sure that they hadn’t contracted the disease during their visit.
“This can be just about ideology and happy talk,” he said, “You know, we have to look at this very seriously and have a scientific-based approach to what we are going to do about this problem,”
Rabih Torbay, the Senior Vice President of International Operations for the International Medical Corps pushed back against the idea, pointing out that it was already difficult to recruit health care professionals to travel to Africa, without forcing them to wait to return home for nine weeks.
“We cannot completely wrap ourselves around a bubble here,” explained Torbay explained, adding that it would be difficult to enforce such strict measures.
11:07 am – NIH Announces First Nurse Infected by Ebola now free of the disease — Charlie Spiering
During the House Oversight Hearing on Ebola, the National Institute of Health announced that the first nurse infected with Ebola, Nina Pham was now free of the disease. The NIH announced that Pham would be released later today.
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) announced the news during the hearing.
“I think that’s good news on one front on that,” he said, praising the United States for “taking the lead” on the fight to contain the disease.
11:05 am – Rep. John Mica (R-FL) blasted Dr. Nicole Lurie and DHS Inspector John Roth for giving airport screeners expired supplies. Eighty-five percent of the hand sanitizer was expired.
11:02 am – National Nurses United Co-President Deborah Burger: Nurses infected didn’t have proper equipment and training.
— NationalNursesUnited (@NationalNurses) October 24, 2014
10:59 am – Reuters: Health officials say U.S. nurse Nina Pham who had Ebola now is virus free
U.S. nurse Nina Pham who had Ebola now is virus free: health officials
— Reuters U.S. News (@ReutersUS) October 24, 2014
10:56 am – Dr. Lance Plyler of Samaritan’s Purse: “this is a global epidemic. we can’t turn a blind eye.”
10:45 am – Ebola Came to Visit Ohio — Charlie Spiering
Ohio Congressman Rep. Mike Turner questioned officials during the hearing about his concerns about people who were exposed to Ebola were.
“Ebola came to visit Ohio” Turner said, referring to the first nurse infected by Ebola, Amber Vinson, and her flight from Dallas to Cleveland putting her in close contact with hundreds of people.
Turner pointed out that the Americans were growing more concerned after hearing reports of people traveling in public areas even though they were exposed to the disease.
Referencing reports, Turner pointed out that people exposed to Ebola were trying on wedding dresses, flying, going on a cruises, bowling, and riding the subway.
Tuner questioned whether the CDC protocols and Department of Defense guidelines should be revised to further protect Americans.
10:05 am – Assistant Defense Sec Michael Lumpkin says in Liberia “we face a logistics crisis focused on a healthcare challenge”
10:02 am – Issa Berates CDC For Jumping to Conclusions — Charlie Spiering
During his opening statement, Issa berated the CDC for it’s knee-jerk reaction to explain how a nurse contracted Ebola from the first Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, Texas.
At the time, CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden quickly blamed her infection on a breach of protocol, angering the nurses and doctors in the Texas hospital.
“Medicine is not done over the telephone it is not done over the television,” Issa said. “Medicine is in fact the business of looking at a patient, evaluating a patient, measuring a patient and questioning the patient not in fact guessing how someone became a patient.”
9:52 am – Issa: New York Ebola Case ‘Particularly Distressing’ — Charlie Spiering
Darrell Issa opened up the hearing this morning with a number of criticisms of the government handling of the Ebola crisis, calling the recently diagnosed case in New York “particularly distressing.”
“I think we all know the system is not yet refined to where we can say that it is working properly,” Issa said.
Issa criticized the Obama administration for appointing Democratic political operative Ron Klain as the “Ebola czar” to lead the government response to the crisis.
“President Obama’s appointment of Ron Kain to serve as the Ebola czar sadly in my opinion shows that the administration has on one hand recognized the missteps and on the other hand is not prepared to put a known leader in charge or in fact a medical professional in charge,” he said.
Issa added that he was “very disappointed” that Klain did not accept the invitation to testify for the hearing, even though he acknowledged that he had just started his position on Wednesday.