White House shifts into crisis mode over Ebola threat

16 October 2014

The White House has shifted into crisis mode as public anxiety rises about the Ebola virus.

Two days of planned political events stand cancelled as president Barack Obama strives to show he can control the deadly disease from spreading, Reuters reported.

Only a few weeks ahead of critical mid-term elections, Obama has come under increased pressure from Republican critics, who charge him with being too slow to protect US citizens.

They draw parallels to what they had described as foot-dragging on dealing with the threat from Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

Democrats who risk losing control of the Senate in the November elections remain worried that they could be hurt by public concerns over Obama's management of Ebola.

Obama's job approval ratings stand at 39 per cent, as per Reuters-Ipsos polls in the first week of October.

According to Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers, at a time in which his job approval rating was quite low and his party was suffering because of it, he thought this was just one more cut in what had turned out to be the death by a thousand cuts for President Obama.

Republican lawmakers, including US house speaker John Boehner, stepped up pressure yesterday with calls for travel bans for the three African nations afflicted by the Ebola outbreak.

Yesterday, speaker John Boehner became the highest-ranking Republican lawmaker to urge the president to consider a travel ban.

''A temporary ban on travel to the United States from countries afflicted with the virus is something that the president should absolutely consider along with any other appropriate actions as doubts about the security of our air travel systems grow,'' Boehner wrote in a statement last evening.

''The administration must be able to assure Americans that we will stop the spread here at home,'' Boehner added.

Boehner also pledged to call the House back into session ''if it becomes clear legislation is needed to ensure the threat is countered aggressively and effectively.''

''We will continue to press the administration for better information about what steps will be taken to protect the American people, including our troops, from this deadly virus,'' he continued. ''And we will work with the administration on appropriate policy options that will help stop the spread of this horrific disease both here in the United States and around the globe.''


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