YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Ebola scare is the hot topic in Washington with lawmakers Thursday grilling the CDC.
CDC officials faced tough questions at a congressional hearing on the Ebola issues. Congressman Bill Johnson, R-6th District, was on the panel asking those questions.
“What happens when three days later they start running a temperature, start throwing up, and they show up at a rural hospital like we have in southeast and eastern Ohio?” Johnson asked. “How are they going to plan for that and does their plan account for that? He did not have a good answer for that.”
Johnson and many other Republicans say they want to see a travel ban from the most affected African countries. Johnson said nothing should be off the table when it comes to public health and safety
Congressman Tim Ryan, D-Niles, agrees and proposed a temporary ban on travel visas for people from those countries.
“This is a very simple step we should be taking to make sure that clearly we are not issuing new visas to people who come from these areas to the United States,” Ryan said.
Another shared frustration between Ryan and Johnson is what they both view as a lack of consistent information from the Centers for Disease Control.
“You guys gotta be clear about what you are doing and let us know exactly,” said Ryan. “Don’t tell us one thing one day and tell us something else the next day because that’s not acceptable.”
One issue they don’t agree on is whether the additional funding for the CDC would help the situation. Ryan said he is concerned the CDC is not going to have the revenue they need to fully implement the plan. He is especially concerned about recent federal budget cuts to hospital preparedness programs.
Johnson said the issue is more about common sense.
“Would additional money have prevented that hospital in Dallas from releasing that patient? Would it have prevented that nurse from traveling to Ohio?” Johnson said.
The president met into the evening with top aides and health officials at the White House, declaring afterward that he had no “philosophical objection” to imposing a travel ban on West Africa but had been told by health and security experts that it would be less effective than measures already in place – and perhaps would be counterproductive.
He said a ban could result in people trying to hide where they were coming from and thus becoming less likely to be screened.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.