Ted Cruz: Bring Congress Back to Address Ebola

He blames the Obama administration for its response.
Updated on

Unless the White House acts, Senator Ted Cruz says, "the leaders of Congress should reconvene" the House and Senate to impose a temporary travel ban from West African countries affected by Ebola.

Cruz, a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate from Texas, said the White House had under-reacted to the threat. "Ebola policy seems to be driven from the White House," he said in an interview with Bloomberg Politics. "It seems to be dictated by politics rather than a common-sense approach to protecting the American public."

Two weeks ago, Cruz asked the Federal Aviation Administration what actions it was taking to protect American travelers from the virus. He said he had not heard back. In the meantime, two nurses in Cruz's home state of Texas have been diagnosed with the disease. 

Unlike some of his colleagues in Congress, Cruz is not calling for the resignation of Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control. "The CDC is working very hard" as are health professionals in Dallas and in West Africa, he said.

He also said there was sensitivity to "political correctness" at the White House – a phrase that has been used by another possible Republican presidential candidate, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. Cruz declined to elaborate on what he meant by the term.

Asked Thursday about the possibility of a travel ban, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the number of individuals who would be subject to one is relatively small – about 150 a day, and that it might be counterproductive.

"It would create a direct incentive for individuals from those countries seeking to enter the United States to go underground," he said.  "We want to keep those lines of transportation open so that those individuals who seek to enter this country ... are subject to the heightened screening measures."


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