Obama Administration Appointment Comes as Failed Response Becomes More Evident

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on President Obama’s appointment of Ron Klain as Ebola Response Coordinator and other shortcomings in the response to the outbreak.
Chairman Royce said: “Given the mounting failings in the Obama Administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak, it is right that the President has sought to task a single individual to coordinate its response.  But I have to ask why the President didn’t pick an individual with a noteworthy infectious disease or public health background?

“From the local hospital to international health organizations, there have been missteps.  This morning, the Associated Press is reporting that the World Health Organization, the U.N. health agency, is acknowledging its poor leadership in West Africa.  Indeed, the Foreign Affairs Committee has heard testimony that the WHO has been ‘bound up by bureaucracy.’  Experts don’t understand why it took the organization five months and a thousand deaths before declaring an international health emergency – and neither do I.  It’s critical that WHO functions effectively, starting now.

“Given the severity of this threat, I’ve called for the President to immediately suspend the issuance of visas for non-U.S. nationals in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the West Africa countries most impacted by the Ebola outbreak. Taking a time out on travel to the U.S. by these individuals – who aren’t part of the health crisis response – is a prudent step.”

Note: Chairman Royce’s letter calling on the State Department to immediately suspend the issuance of visas for non-U.S. nationals in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone can be found HERE.

At a September 17th Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, Dr. Kent Brantly, who became infected with Ebola while serving in Liberia, detailed his experience both as a care giver and Ebola patient. The doctor criticized the World Health Organization, testifying:

“Even now, the international response is woefully inadequate…Agencies like the World Health Organization, as has been mentioned, remained bound up by bureaucracy.  Their speeches, proposals and plans, though noble, have not resulted in any significant action to stop this Ebola outbreak.”