Congressman Robert Pittenger

Representing the 9th District of North Carolina
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Pittenger to Obama: Travel restrictions needed to prevent spread of Ebola

Oct 9, 2014
Press Release




WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Robert Pittenger (NC-09) led a bipartisan letter with 25 other House Members imploring President Obama to take aggressive action against the Ebola virus.

“We specifically call on you not to “pass the buck” on this crucial issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) is an organization of unelected bureaucrats and political appointees of foreign countries.  It has no duty to protect the lives and well-being of Americans, as you do.

“We strongly urge the Administration to take immediate and decisive action to protect and prevent American citizens from further exposure to the deadly Ebola virus.  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”, the letter stated.

Yesterday, Congressman Pittenger met with the international leadership of SIM at their headquarters in the Charlotte region.  As conveyed by their team who is on the ground now in Liberia, the spread of the Ebola virus is expanding, not receding.  Also discussed was the need for temporary travel restrictions with the exception of government approved flights for economic development or humanitarian relief.   Congressman Pittenger also visited with Mrs. Nancy Writebol, who is now free of the Ebola virus but remains very concerned over the deadly impact throughout West Africa, the continent of Africa and the world.

Since the first death of the Ebola epidemic in Guinea during December 2013, the outbreak has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Nigeria – the most severe crisis recorded, which could impact the entire African continent.  Even with nearly 7,500 reported cases and over 3,400 deaths, fears remain that we have limited knowledge of the entire caseload and these numbers could be substantially higher.

While Christian mission organizations, including SIM and Samaritan's Purse, faithfully and courageously fought to contain the virus and provide medical attention to afflicted persons, their efforts were overwhelmed by the expansion of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) admits the outbreak is racing ahead of control efforts, and WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan referred to the epidemic as the "largest, most complex and most severe we've ever seen.”

“Mr. President, we would extend to you our deepest concern for the spread beyond the African continent, particularly with access to the United States through air travel. Either unwittingly, or through desperate and deliberate efforts to not disclose personal health concerns, we fear individuals will travel to the United States carrying this deadly virus, resulting in devastating affects upon our national health. Given the current threats America is facing, we should also not discount the possibility of terrorists and jihadists intentionally carrying this disease to America, as part of their unwavering and unrelenting resolve to destroy us.

“Until such time as the WHO has determined the virus is fully contained and eliminated, we implore you to instruct the FAA to cancel all flights to and from all related countries, currently experiencing the Ebola epidemic.

“We respect British Airways and other airlines, with the prudent, measured decision to cancel all flights from the affected region, and believe that the safety and security of our country is vested in your leadership and decision to protect, with all possible measures, every American during this crisis”, Pittenger stated.

Congressman Pittenger serves as the Chairman of the Congressional Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.


To read the letter sent to President Obama, please click here.