Dr. Thomas Frieden will take his turn under the congressional klieg lights on Thursday, as Republicans plan to grill the CDC director over his agency's flawed response to Ebola in the United States.
Lawmakers on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are briefly leaving the campaign trail to hold a hearing on the public health crisis that has quickly become a top issue in the midterm elections. President Obama is now facing growing calls from Republican officials and candidates to overrule Frieden and institute a commercial travel ban from the West African countries where the epidemic is centered.
Frieden, who has become the public face of the administration's response, will testify at the Capitol alongside several other federal and local officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has already acknowledged the CDC erred in not sending a team to Dallas immediately after the diagnosis earlier this month of Thomas Eric Duncan, who later became the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S. Two nurses who treated Duncan were infected, and it was disclosed on Wednesday that one of them—identified as Amber Joy Vinson, 29—boarded a commercial flight in Cleveland after recording a fever.