We’re back to Ebola news. On Friday, we taunted Team Udall saying that if the campaign came out in favor of a flight ban from Ebola-affected countries, we would call him out for allowing Gardner to lead on this issue. If he continued on the path he was on (agreeing with Obama), we also would rip on his record of voting 99% for Obama’s agenda. As it turns out, Sen. Udall did neither, but instead relied on an old trick from his playbook – re-introduce a law or policy that already exists.
On Saturday, Sen. Udall issued a press release calling for the following:
“Citing the confirmed Ebola cases in the United States, Mark Udall called on the TSA and CDC to immediately restrict the ability of all persons being monitored for Ebola symptoms to board airline flights. Udall said this common-sense step will help confront the epidemic and protect Americans.”
Gosh, why didn’t someone think of that sooner? Actually, someone did. See, there are two ways to accomplish what Sen. Udall is proposing. First, states can restrict travel. For example, in the case of Amber Vinson, the nurse who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan in Texas, the state could have restricted her travel. Here’s what the Wall Street Journal said about the state of Texas’ authority to quarantine:
States generally have broad power to order quarantines and other extreme measures to protect the health and safety of the general public. The current Texas health and safety code authorizes health officials to impose control measures “that are reasonable and necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of the disease in this state.”
But, perhaps not every state has the same ability. That’s where the CDC comes in. Again, according to the Wall Street Journal:
The CDC is also authorized to detain people traveling between states who are suspected of carrying certain infectious diseases, such as cholera, tuberculosis and smallpox, though this power is less clear-cut, legal experts said. The list can be updated by executive order.
So, really, the country doesn’t need Mark Udall to call on the CDC, but Mark Udall to call on President Obama, to add Ebola to the CDC list. It’s really that simple. We assume that Udall has some pretty smart policy wonks working for him, so surely they knew that. Why wouldn’t Udall address his call to action to President Obama? It would seem that’s the most direct route? It would seem that, once again, Mark Udall is trying to claim leadership on something that already exists – like his faux campaign for equal pay – that law also already exists.
What’s disappointing is that Udall is so lacking in leadership that he refuses to take a strong stand on something as important as infectious disease control. If he won’t stand up for Colorado on this, is there anything he will take a strong stand on?