What Will "Ebola Czar" Ron Klain Do, Anyway? He Won't Rule Russia, That's For Sure
In facing a possible Ebola outbreak in the U.S., the Obama administration has decided to designate one person to represent the federal government in any Ebola-related responses. That person is Ron Klain, the nation's new Ebola Czar. While it's unclear what specific duties he'll be taking on, the Ebola Czar's job responsibilities mostly pertain to managing the federal response to any Ebola-related news. So in layman's terms, if the federal government is a hot new celebrity and Ebola is its first sex scandal, then the Ebola Czar would be a combination manager-publicist working overtime to control information dissemination and nip the scandal in the bud. Essentially.
On Friday, the White House announced President Obama's choice for Ebola Czar: Ron Klain. A former chief of staff to Vice President Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore, Klain is a lawyer who currently serves as the general counsel for an investment firm. Though he has no medical background, he has extensive legal, financial, and managerial experience, which is what really matters here. In a press statement, the Obama administration sang his praises:
Klain, an attorney, comes to the job with strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the president.
One of his career highlights was overseeing the allocation of funds in the 2009 stimulus act, which gained the respect of the Obama administration and the rest of Washington. So now that he's beaten out an unclear number of candidates and won the job nobody knew existed, what exactly are his job duties?
Supervising the Tracking of Ebola
Overall, he will make sure that state and federal agencies like the CDC and Homeland Security are on top of tracking possible Ebola exposures. A White House official told press that Klain will see that the U.S.' efforts "to protect the American people by detecting, isolating, and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don't distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa."
Coordinating the Federal Response
His other main responsibility is establishing and managing the federal response to any new Ebola developments, or as the official called it, the administration's "whole of government Ebola response." Prior to Klain's appointment, the White House's unofficial point person was the president's Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, who will now focus on other matters like ISIS. CDC Director Tom Frieden also played a major role in addressing the public, but was criticized when it was revealed that CDC protocol was not enforced at the Dallas hospital that treated the first U.S. Ebola case.
With a title like "Czar," you're probably picturing Klain sitting on a regal throne in some dark citadel as he masterminds how to single-handedly stop the spread of Ebola. But in reality, this Czar has superiors. Klain will report directly to White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice and the Monaco.
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