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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Republicans More Interested In Grandstanding on Immigration Than Combatting Ebola

During the House hearing on Ebola today Republican after Republican mentioned that the President can impose travel restrictions and asked why he has not done so.

Time after time, panelist after panelist, the explanation was the same: a travel ban would force people wanting to enter the U.S. from West Africa to simply fly to just about any other country first and arrive in the U.S. undetected, unscreened, and unknown to the agencies who need to track them and the people they are in contact with for symptoms.  Travel restrictions would complicate the testing of people arriving from West Africa and force them to circumvent the screening process.

Republicans keep asking about a travel ban as if the question hasn't already been answered. Repeatedly.  It has been answered during this very hearing, repeatedly, and in the weeks leafing up to the hearing, repeatedly. It is telling that none of the questioners are even remotely questioning the answer, they are simply restating the question trying to score political points, wasting everyone's time.

One such huckleberry went so far as to attempt to twist a Frieden comment about West Africa's porous borders into a question about U.S. borders.    She directed her hysterical question about our borders to the panelist from the Department of Fatherland Security, who calmly answered in full agreement with CDC director Frieden and every other health expert: a travel ban would be counterproductive and make the job of preventing the spread of the virus more difficult.

If Representatives' constituents are concerned with Fox News-invented and embellished horror scenarios it is the job of those elected officials to educate their misinformed constituents about what the best course of action is and why, not pander to their fear.

Instead these Republican House members are actively working against the public interest by distracting from the actual issues at hand and wasting the time of people who have better things to do -- like serve the public interest.

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