Roe asks for Americans to be evacuated from cruise ship

Hank Hayes • Feb 14, 2020 at 8:30 AM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe told reporters in a Thursday conference call that he is asking the federal government to evacuate American citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.

Roe noted he has been talking to physician Arnold Hopland of Elizabethton — who's on the cruise ship — in conjunction with a number of federal agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Health and Human Services.

More than 400 American citizens are on the cruise ship, Roe said.

"(Hopland) said there were 44 more positive tests (for the coronavirus)," Roe told reporters. "I'm asking personally that we evacuate all of the Americans on that (ship) ... we have the capacity to do this. They will have to be quarantined as they come back to the U.S. for 14 days."

The military trains for evacuations all the time, Roe pointed out.

"We're the best at it in the world," he insisted. "You can take folks off the ship, get them tested, mask them up. We've got the capacity to move those folks."

Roe also responded to these questions:

What's your reaction to the Justice Department possibly recommending giving Roger Stone a lighter jail term?

"My reaction is that, take this as you may, I don't have to run (for re-election) again so I can be unfiltered. It doesn't seem to matter. This president is going to be under attack as long as he's the president. It appears Roger Stone lied, the court said he did, to an investigation over a crime that was never committed, which was the Russia hoax. Nine years for someone who was never convicted of anything in his past seemed a little harsh to me ... I do understand the president's frustration. It was a harsh sentence for that crime."

What's going on with the Surprise Medical Billing legislation?

"The bill that we voted out of Education and Labor (committee) wasn't to my liking so I opposed that bill, but I did support the bill that was voted by a voice vote out of Ways and Means (committee) the other day. We will get those two bills massaged and worked on. Just a couple of changes will gather my support for a compromise package."

What’s going on with the Equal Rights Amendment being back before Congress?

"The concern that people have is women have made incredible gains in their rights and the concern is this would roll back those rights, for instance Title 9 ... the concern we also had is it basically would allow federal funding of abortion ... I think that's something that concerns many of our pro-life folks in the country."

What's good about President Trump's proposed budget?

"I was thrilled with the president's budget with the VA (Veterans Administration) ... it's up 10 percent. When I got to Congress in 2009, the entire budget ... was $97 and a half billion. The president's request this year is $243 billion. There are increases in mental health, opioid addiction (treatment). I'm very pleased with that budget."