The administration will try to “hide their rear” during an upcoming hearing on the Ebola outbreak, Republican Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) said in an interview with Breitbart News Wednesday.
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is scheduled to hold a hearing on the Ebola outbreak Thursday and a number of administration officials are set to testify, including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden.
Barton, who who serves on Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, explained that he expects the hearing will result in a lot of excuses from the administration but said that the committee “on a bipartisan basis will be fairly intense.”
He stressed that the Ebola outbreak needs to be treated as public health issue.
“At some point in time and it needs to be very soon, start taking the strictest measures to protect public health. Treat it as a public health issue, not as a international diplomacy or civil rights issue or something like that,” Barton said. “It’s a solvable problem, if you just use the strictest, basic public health guidelines, you know identify, isolate, quarantine and stick to it, we can stop this thing in the United States.”
Barton, whose district buttresses Dallas where the domestic diagnoses of Ebola have so far occurred, said the administration needs to put travel restrictions on the hot-zone Ebola countries in West Africa.
“I think the Obama administration has underplayed or misplayed their hand,” Barton said. “I think it ought to be treated first, foremost as a public health issue. And that means suspend all flights, direct and indirect, don’t let anybody from the epicenter countries into the United States.”
The Texas lawmaker added that it is “inexplicable” that the Obama administration has not place restrictions on people traveling from the Ebola countries to the U.S. and said that he believes on the Republican side of the committee support for travel restrictions “would be almost unanimous.”
And Barton’s committee peers are not the only ones. Wednesday afternoon House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) added their names to the growing list of lawmakers called for a temporary travel ban from West African countries dealing with Ebola.
Barton, who will not be at the hearing due to a recent gallbladder operation, said he will be watching from Texas and might even call in with his own questions.