A Republican lawmaker claims the real reason the Obama administration is opposing a travel ban for Ebola-stricken African countries is that U.S. officials are concerned about hurting their economies — a dollars-and-cents reason, the lawmaker says, doesn’t make much sense.
Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., whose House subcommittee held a high-profile hearing Thursday on the Ebola virus, told Fox News that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden is the one who gave him that explanation.
“He explained to me … the concern was that these are fledgling democracies and if we put a travel ban that that may affect their economy and harm them,” Murphy said.
The CDC’s alleged explanation to Murphy about African economies would seem to conflict with what Frieden and other top health officials have said publicly about the prospect of a travel ban, which they oppose. They frequently say that halting flights would hurt the flow of medical supplies and personnel in the region — and in turn put West Africa more at risk.
He said the government will “consider any options” to protect Americans but continued to argue against a travel ban. Confronted by Murphy over his apparent desire to “protect fledgling democracies,” Frieden said: “My sole concern is to protect Americans.”
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