The Washington Post reports that Republican candidates for U.S. Senate — aware of rampant Ebola fear — are calling for travel bans from West African countries. Republican Rep. Tom Cotton is not on the list. Yet. The day is young.
Don’t forget that Tom Cotton voted against U.S. funding to fight potential pandemics such as Ebola. And his people scoffed when Mark Pryor brought it up.
UPDATE: I wrote before checking my e-mail. Cotton has naturally weighed in:
“President Obama’s failure to take appropriate action against the spread of Ebola over the last several weeks has left Arkansans and all Americans unnecessarily vulnerable to this terrible disease. Earlier this month, I joined my fellow Arkansas Congressmen in calling on President Obama to implement additional safeguards that would better protect the United States, but this request fell on deaf ears,” said Cotton. “Today, I’m renewing this call on President Obama to immediately ban flights from all affected African countries and to implement additional screenings for those who have recently traveled to or from afflicted countries. Further, the President should use the power provided to him in current law to ask the State Department to suspend all non-immigrant visas granted to individuals from any country dealing with an Ebola outbreak.”
Sen. Mark Pryor has now responded:
Arkansans have every right to be alarmed by the Ebola epidemic given the multiple failures we’ve seen unfold. We need to work together as a country to protect the spread of this deadly disease; it is not a time to play politics.
It is clear that the piece-meal approach to contain this outbreak is not enough. We need a comprehensive strategy. It starts with a travel ban for non-citizens coming to the U.S. from affected areas and a stepped-up screening process conducted by health professionals for Americans returning from West Africa. The CDC needs to swiftly enact updated quarantine procedures, and start providing state health officials with local contact information for people arriving from West Africa. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has an essential role in disaster response, and should stand ready to provide disaster relief to states should an outbreak occur. Finally, the President needs to designate a single cabinet member to swiftly coordinate this multi-layered response to protect Americans.