Thursday at noon the House of Representatives will question Centers for Disease Control director Dr. Thomas Frieden and other Obama Administration officials over the spread of Ebola in the United States. After three weeks of arrogant and ignorant happy talk mixed with stunning incompetence, these officials can expect tough questions from both sides of the aisle.
Breitbart News will live blog the hearing here. Newest posts are at the top. All times Eastern.
2:57 pm – Frieden Repeatedly Dodges Questions on Travel Ban Talks with White House – Charlie Spiering
Questioned by House Majority Whip Steven Scalise, Dr. Frieden refused to say whether or not he had discussed a travel ban with White House officials.
Frieden would only say that he “had discussions on the issue of travel” with White House officials but refused to say whether they considered a travel ban.
2:55 pm – Post-Hearing Erickson Calls for ‘Political Operator’ Frieden to Resign
I think Thomas Frieden needs to resign or be fired. He’s clearly more a political operator than a public health leader.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) October 16, 2014
2:50 pm – In summation, Chairman Murphy correctly points out that only Vargas (from the private sector) admitted to mistakes; not a single witness from the government did the same.
2:43 pm – Frieden refuses to say if he has had any discussions with the White House about a travel ban. Twice he was asked if he had discussions with the White House about a travel ban, both times he dissembled by responding with, “I can’t speak for the White House about a travel ban.”
2:41 pm – CNN again assumes we’d prefer to hear what one of the leftwing anchors have to say instead of the actual hearing. CNN’s ratings are in the toilet.
2:36 pm – Gardner Presses Panel on Travel Ban – Charlie Spiering
Rep. Corey Gardner (R-CO) who is now challenging Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) in the Senate, questioned the panel about a travel ban from West African countries.
The panel was unable to answer Gardner when he asked how many flights were coming and going from West African countries to the United States or how many flights were needed for to transport personnel and equipment to the infected areas.
Dr Fauci repeated that a flight ban would actually hurt the ability for medical officials to track passengers after they came from these countries.
2:32 pm – Long asks Frieden why, if Ebola is airborne, is an airplane being scrubbed for the fourth time. Frieden can only answer that Ebola is a “scary disease.”
Long asks Frieden if you can infect others with Ebola without having a fever. Frieden says it’s unlikely but you would have other symptoms.
2:31 pm – Rep, Billy Long (R-MO) Takes umbrage with the two Ebola-infected nurses being refer red to as Nurse 1 and Nurse 2. Enters their names into the record.
2:30 pm – Can Dogs Transmit Ebola? – Tony Lee
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) asked Frieden whether the Ebola virus can be transmitted by dogs. He cited numerous studies that found dogs in countries like Gabon and Sudan had contracted Ebola and noted that “there is really a lot of questions” about whether dogs could transmit the virus. He noted that there has been instances of non-human-to-human transmission of Ebola. (Africans have reportedly gotten Ebola by eating infected bushmeat.)
Frieden said “we don’t know of any documented transmission from dogs to humans.”
Griffith responded that though there is a “lack of evidence,” there isn’t “negative evidence” about whether dogs can be contagious. He even suggested there be a travel ban on dogs as well.
Nina Pham’s dog is currently being quarantined while the Spanish nurse’s dog was euthanized. Officials are concerned people may not go to the hospital with Ebola symptoms if they think their pets will be put down.
2:29 pm – From Caroline May…
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) quickly left the committee hearing with a phone next to his ear and a small pack of reporters chasing him to the elevators. He did not take questions.
Braley’s haste was to be expected, however, he is running for Senate and is scheduled to debate Republican Joni Ernst this evening in Iowa.
2:20 pm – Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) gets Frieden to admit that the CDC still doesn’t know how or if the protocols at the Texas hospital broke down. Apparently, that’s one piece of Ebola science the CDC doesn’t have.
2:18 pm – Frieden complains that some of the media coverage is overboard and exaggerates the risk. Repeats that the CDC has all the science it needs on Ebola.
2:09 pm – CDC Director: ‘Parents Should Not Be Concerned’ During Flu Season – Tony Lee
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) noted that there is “great confusion” because the temperature threshold for Ebola has gone down from 101.5 degrees to 100.4 degrees. He mentioned that Thomas Eric Duncan’s temperature was 100.1 degrees when he first came to the emergency room and spiked to 103 degrees 24 hours later.
When Gingrey asked for more specific guidelines, CDC director Frieden punted, merely saying there needs to be an “extra margin of safety for screening.”
Earlier in the hearing, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) cited a study in which “13% of confirmed cases in West Africa did not have an associated fever.”
Days after a second Texas nurse who treated Thomas Eric Duncan boarded a flight with a low-grade fever before she was diagnosed with Ebola, Frieden said parents “should not be concerned” about their children contracting Ebola unless they have been to West Africa or exposed to someone who contracted the virus.
2:06 pm – After Lying About Budget Cuts Waxman Accuses Republicans of ‘Showboating’ – Caroline May
Speaking to reporters outside the hearing room Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) accused the Republican lawmakers who have called for CDC Director Tom Frieden’s resignation of “showboating.”
Wednesday, Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) called for Frieden to step down as the Ebola outbreak in the United State extended to a second nurse.
According to Waxman, however, Republicans have “shortchanged the efforts of the Centers for Disease Control to do their important mission.”
Waxman added that his main takeaway from the hearing was that people should not panic.
1:54 pm – Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) politicizes hearing with complaints about phantom budget cuts. Currently the CDC has a $7 billion annual budget. The budget has increased from $6.64 billion to $7.16 billion in just three years.
Democrats are using lies to politicize a national health crisis.
1:51 pm – Two Hours In Here’s What We Still Don’t Know…
2 hours into #ebolahearing & no one can say whether nurses got ebola because of failure of protocol or protocol itself.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) October 16, 2014
1:50 pm – CDC Director Claims Feds Can ‘Track Everyone Who Comes In’ from West Africa – Tony Lee
Arguing against an Ebola travel ban, the director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claimed on Thursday that the federal government can track everyone who enters the country from West Africa.
A GAO study last year found that the Department of Homeland Security lost track of one million visa holders. This year, ABC reported that the federal government lost track of 6,000 foreigners on student visas who “could do us harm.” Nearly 40% of the country’s illegal immigrants overstayed their visas.
Frieden insisted that his agency’s “fundamental mission is to protect Americans.”
1:48 pm – White House Responds to Braley Criticism: ‘He Speaks Truth To Power’ – Charlie Spiering
At the White House Press Briefing this afternoon, Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to Braley’s criticism of the administration’s response to Ebola.
Earnest admitted that the White House has acknowledged that there have been shortcomings in the federal government’s response to the Ebola crisis.
1:46 pm – No one seems to know how or why the healthcare workers taking care of man from Liberia with Ebola-like symptoms didn’t wear protective gear for two days.
1:37 pm – Frieden says up to 50 healthcare workers at Texas Presbyterian are at risk of exposure and are being monitored.
1:36 pm – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) suggests the full House vote on a travel ban.
1:32 pm – Bruce Braley (D-IA), who’s in a tough election battle with Joni Ernst, used most of his 5 minutes to talk up an Iowa company working on a Ebola vaccine. Someone has his eye on tonight’s local news reports.
1:27 pm – From Tony Lee…
Can a person without a fever transmit Ebola? The federal government denies it, but Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) is not sure.
Murphy, the Chair of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, asked if Ebola can be “transmitted from a person who does not yet have a high fever.”
Murphy noted that the CDC and the NIH have claimed that “Ebola patients are only contagious when they have a fever,” but “the largest study of the current Ebola outbreak found 13% of confirmed cases in West Africa did not have an associated fever.”
He also said that travelers can even mask fevers by taking Ibuprofen. He said “errors in judgment” have already been made “by underestimating the danger and over-estimating the ability to handle the Ebola outbreak.” Murphy said “the trust and credibility of the administration and government are waning as the American public loses confidence each day with demonstrated failures of the current strategy” after obvious “mistakes were made.” He said “trust and credibility” can “only be restored with honest and thorough action.”
Murphy was puzzled that the administration still refuses “to consider any travel restrictions from 1,000 travelers entering the united states each week from Ebola hot zones.” He said America should not put the concerns of “fledgling democracies” over protecting public health and emphasized that, “we do not have to leave the door open to all travel to and from all hot zones from Western Africa while Ebola is an unwelcome and dangerous stowaway on these flights.”
He noted that “the number of Ebola cases in Africa is doubling in about every three weeks” and “with no vaccine or cure, we are facing down a disease for which there is no room for error. “
Nina Pham, the Texas nurse who contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, reportedly had some symptoms of Ebola before she got a fever. And Amber Vinson, the second nurse who contracted Ebola from the Texas hospital, reportedly called the CDC to tell the agency about her low-grade fever, but was told she could fly from Cleveland to Dallas. Frieden admitted that Vinson called the CDC but said he still has not seen a transcript of the call.
1:25 pm – Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn asked Frieden if our “porous borders” make it difficult to fight Ebola.
Frieden responded that he was talking about Africa’s porous borders.
1:24pm – Democrat Henry Waxman used his 5 minutes to make his case for opposing a travel ban.
1:21 pm – Frieden Clains Nurse Didn’t Tell CDC About Symptoms – Charlie Spiering
Chairman Murphy questioned Dr. Tom Frieden about reports indicating that Amber Joy Vinson, the nurse who traveled on a plane from Cleveland, called the CDC about her concerns about a fever before boarding a plane.
Frieden said that he hadn’t had a chance to review the call either, or read the transcript of what was said.
But according to CBS, Vinson did report having a fever of 99.5 and called the CDC several times for advice. CDC officials, however, cleared her to fly.
1:21 pm – Under questioning from Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). Frieden admits that up to 150 travelers a day are coming to America from African hot zones.
Frieden claims that right now we know who’s coming in. A travel ban might mean that they come here over land through our “porous borders” and that we wouldn’t be able to keep track of them. This would be a more serious problem than 150 hote xone travelers a day we can keep track of.
1:05 pm – Frieden has no good answer for questions about the lack of a travel ban.
1:04 pm – From Caroline May…
Dr. Daniel Varga, Chief Clinical Officer and Senior Vice President of the Texas Health Resources, which treated Liberian national Thomas Duncan, apologized for the mistakes the hospital made.
Two of the hospital’s nurses have since come down with the virus.
1:03 pm – Now CNN thinks we’d prefer to listen to their talking heads than watch the hearing. CNN’s ratings are in the toilet.
1:02 pm – Under questioning, Frieden verified that the nurse who traveled on a passenger plane did indeed call the CDC prior to the flight. Frieden said he was not on the flight.
1:00 pm – For some reason CNN thinks America is more interested in what Wolf Blitzer has to say. I’ve flipped to MSNBC.
12:54 pm – Via video testimony, Dallas hospital director Dr. Daniel Varga admitted to making mistakes in handling Ebola patient, the now-deceased Thomas Duncan, and defended the hospital against the charges of racism (baseless charges from leftwing news outlets like CNN and MSNBC).
Thus far Varga, who comes from the private sector, has distinguished himself from his fellow witnesses from government by admitting to mistakes.
12:53 – All cable news stations covering the Congressional hearing have popped up a split screen. Next to the testimony is video of a hazmat team at the apartment of Amber Vinson, the second Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola. They appear to be cleaning out the dwelling.
12:41 pm – NBC’s Andrea Mitchell Is Upset a Democrat Had to Follow the Rules
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) October 16, 2014
12:38 pm – Braley (D-IA) Hammers Obama Administration – Jonathon Strong
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) – now running for Senate in Iowa against Republican candidate Joni Ernst – flew to Washington to participate during the hearing today.
Braley asked Congress for all members to “put aside partisan differences” to solve the problem and to “discuss all the options” to combat the threat of Ebola.
Braley appeared to take umbrage when the chairman, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) cut off his testimony. Murphy explained that Braley’s time had expired and the committee had a busy agenda ahead.
Braley clearly had a longer speech planned, but he was cut off by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) the chairman of the hearing – who explained that his time had expired.
In response. Braley flashed an annoyed look as he was only speaking for about a minute.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell also noticed, and expressed her dismay on Twitter.
“Rep. Bruce Braley leaves Iowa senate campaign to come to #Ebola hearing,” she wrote on Twitter. “Gets cut off by GOP chair after speaking less than a minute.”
Braley will have to wrap it up quickly in Washington D.C., if he plans to make it back to Iowa for a scheduled debate tonight with his challenger Joni Ernst.
12:35 pm – Frieden expressed his fear of the Ebola virus spreading further in Africa. “To protect the United States we must stop the virus at the source.”
12:29 pm – Unfortunately, just 20 minutes in, Democrats have already politicized the hearing with coordinated talking points about the need to give the CDC more money. Thus far, every Democrat who has spoke has pretended the CDC’s budget was cut and argued that all will be well if we agree to grow the size of government.
“Never let a crisis go to waste” lives on.
12:26 pm – Sounding much less smug than he did just two weeks ago, Frieden says, “It is not easy to stop Ebola.”
12:25 pm – The five witnesses, including CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden, stand and swear to tell the truth under oath.
12:20 pm – DeGette Rips Proposed Travel Bans: ‘Catastrophic’ For Africa – Charlie Spiering
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), the top Democrat on the House panel hearing from top health experts on the Ebola crisis, came out strongly against travel restrictions between the U.S. and African nations where the deadly virus is spreading rapidly, saying it could deeply harm Africa.
“The best way to stop this Ebola is going to be to stop this virus in Africa. Experts with Doctors Without Borders have told us that a quarantine on travel would have, quote, catastrophic impacts on West Africa,” she said.
DeGette went on to cite an NIH official saying funding cuts prevented an Ebola vaccine from being invented.
12:19 pm – Henry Waxman (D-CA) doesn’t want to seal off Africa because it’s not a perfect fix. Waxman also complained about these phantom budget cuts.
12:11 pm – Diane Degette (D-CO) repeated the absurd lie that an agency with a $7 billion — with a “B” — annual budget would have found an Ebola cure by now were it not for a small sequester cut. Nor did she mention that the agency has enjoyed an enormous increase in resources over the last decade.
12:08 pm – Committee Chairman Republican Rep. Tim Murphy opened the hearing and is not buying the nonsensical argument that a travel ban is an “all or one” situation. We can ban travel from Ebola-affected countries and still get medical personnel in and out.
Murphy told the CDC to let Congress know what resources are needed.