WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, today announced he will convene a hearing on the role commercial air travel plays in both spreading and containing coronavirus, and what Congress can do to prevent further outbreaks.
“As more countries are affected by this deadly disease and public concern continues to mount, Americans want confidence in the government’s response to this health crisis. According to the latest reports, the coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people, and killed at least 2,700 people overseas. Just yesterday, the Center for Disease Control urged Americans to prepare for the virus’ spread in the United States.And given the Chinese Communist Party’s long history of not telling the truth, there is reason to be concerned about just how far the coronavirus has spread across the region. There is a very real risk for this virus to spread widely and potentially become a pandemic. This situation is quickly becoming an economic problem as well, as global markets reflect the uncertainty and fear this disease is causing.
“The U.S. government has a responsibility to protect Americans, and it’s important the American people have clarity on how the United States and the aviation industry in particular is working to contain this disease. That is what I hope we achieve with this hearing. We need to understand the science and the facts from those on the frontlines, and we need to take every necessary precaution to reduce the spread of this virus and protect lives.”
The hearing – “From SARS to Coronavirus: Examining the Role of Global Aviation in Containing the Spread of Infectious Disease” – is scheduled for March 4, 2020. The witness list is forthcoming.
As chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Cruz has led the effort to protect the health of the flying public and all Americans since the outbreak was first reported. Sen. Cruz has:
- Called for a travel ban to and from China, as well as advanced screenings at U.S. airports.
- Sent a letter with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and other members to the World Health Organization concerning Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization.
- Sent a letter to the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) calling for Taiwan to be fully included in the international response to coronavirus.
- Participated in a roundtable discussion with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association, where he commended their efforts to contain the coronavirus.
- Held a bipartisan briefing for members of the Commerce Committee to hear from officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the World Health Organization (WHO) about how the U.S. government is working with other countries on a coordinated, global response, to this public health crisis and what more Congress can do to prevent further outbreaks.