The risk that the Ebola virus, which doctors can’t treat or cure, could reach the United States from West Africa is small. But American officials are starting to think it’s better to be safe than sorry.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its warning level for U.S. travel to the three African nations hit hardest by the worst Ebola outbreak in history: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The “Level 3” alert urges all U.S. residents to avoid nonessential travel to these countries because of the outbreak.
The CDC had previously issued a “Level 2” travel alert, which warns U.S. visitors traveling to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, and advises them to “practice enhanced precautions” and avoid contact with infected individuals.
The virus has infected more than 1,300 people and killed more than more than 700 since February, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. Between July 24 and July 27 alone, 57 deaths were reported.
On Monday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined to say whether her department was considering travel restrictions in response to the outbreak. “In terms of what we’re considering, I don’t have anything to predict,” she said. “We’re taking every precaution, of course.”
No case of Ebola has never been reported on U.S. soil. But the recent death of Patrick Sawyer from the disease appears to have hit close to home. Sawyer, a naturalized U.S. citizen, collapsed in a Nigerian airport after departing Liberia, marking the first time in history that the Ebola virus traveled from one country to another by plane. Had Sawyer’s symptoms taken longer to manifest, he would have made it to his final destination: Minnesota.
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"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”
The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.
President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."
Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.