House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he was "disappointed" that President Barack Obama's new Ebola czar, Ron Klain, did not appear before his hearing on Ebola Friday morning, and warned that Klain shouldn't skip the next hearing.
"We did invite the president's new czar, Mr. Klain, to testify, and we're very disappointed that he was not able to," Issa said as he opened the hearing. "But we understand he has just started, and we do not expect that that would be repeated if there's a followup hearing."
Ebola coordinator Ron Klain wasn't at a House hearing on Ebola on Friday, which prompted Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to warn that Klain will need to be at any followup hearings that might be held. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Obama administration has said all week that Klain would not testify, as he just started his job coordinating the federal government's response to Ebola on Wednesday.
Klain is likely to hear criticism from Congress whenever he arrives. Like other Republicans have said in the past few weeks, Issa said he believes Klain is the wrong pick for the job.
"President Obama's appointment of Ron Klain to serve as the Ebola czar sadly, in my opinion, shows the administration has on one hand recognized the missteps, and on the other hand is not prepared to put a known leader in charge, or in fact, a medical professional in charge," Issa said.
Issa said one question he has is whether Klain will be charged with creating the interagency coordination needed to handle cases of Ebola in the United States, or overseeing a process that already exists.
The administration has been criticized for failing to organize hospital standards that should be followed when dealing with Ebola or suspected cases of Ebola. Some have said the lack of coordination played a role in the infection of two nurses in Dallas who dealt with the first patient ever diagnoses with Ebola in the United States.
At Issa's hearing, an organization representing thousands of nurses around the country said the government has so far failed to keep nurses safe, and said a federal standard for dealing with the virus is needed.