WASHINGTON -- Three Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have joined Republicans in calling on President Barack Obama to restrict travel by people from Ebola-stricken West Africa.
"The United States needs to institute travel restrictions, enhanced airport screening and possible quarantine of individuals who have traveled to, or from, the West African countries that have been most impacted by this tragic Ebola epidemic," says the Wednesday letter.
Reps. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) joined two dozen Republicans in signing the letter. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is one of the only other Democrats who has called for a travel ban, most loudly advocated so far by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R). (Grayson first called for a ban in July.) As The Hill reported, a new poll shows that a majority of Americans support the idea.
The Obama administration has resisted calls for travel restrictions, saying airport screening is effective and that aid workers need to be able to travel to and from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea in order to mitigate the crisis at its root. More than 3,000 people have died in West Africa, and more than 3,000 remain infected.
Instead, the Department of Homeland Security and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced new screening procedures, including taking the temperature of people from West Africa at five U.S. airports.
The letter asks President Obama not to "pass the buck" to the World Health Organization on restricting travel. "It has no duty to protect the lives and well-being of Americans, as you do," the letter says. "Furthermore, it has utterly failed to stem this epidemic through its own action."