Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said on May 26 that she supports an investigation into the origins of the CCP virus—also known as the novel coronavirus—by the oversight panel of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
“I think it’s very important that we investigate, especially if the virus escaped from some lab somewhere because that, of course, has implications for international health,” DeGette, who chairs the subcommittee, said in response to comments by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas).
“Whatever we can do, I don’t think China is ever going to turn over documents to the committee, but we’re going to do whatever investigation that is appropriate.”
The Colorado Democrat said she has spoken about such an investigation with the ranking Republican on the subcommittee for oversight, Rep. Morgan Griffin of Virginia. Burgess, who is a medical doctor, also sits on the oversight panel.
The Texas Republican had just noted that “this is a novel disease, and the scientists were sometimes embarrassed because what they had said at the beginning wasn’t what they ended up saying several weeks or months later.”
“I can think of no other area where that has been more pronounced than in where did this virus originate, and the stories we are hearing now are not comporting with the stories we heard early on” regarding how the virus first developed in China.
The official explanation of the Chinese government is that the virus originated in an open-air meat market in Wuhan, China, from bats brought in from another region of the country and sold there for human consumption.
The World Health Organization (WHO) originally accepted the Chinese regime’s explanation, but more recently has conceded that a lab leak can’t be definitively ruled out.
Critics have contended almost from the first day of the U.S. lockdowns last year that there’s evidence the disease may have been leaked, accidentally or otherwise, from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIR).
The WIR is closely linked with the Beijing regime, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The lab also does much research in cooperation with and for the Chinese military.
DeGette’s comment followed a statement made public earlier in the day by President Joe Biden, who said he has directed U.S. intelligence to conduct a second investigation of the available evidence on the origins issue.
“I have now asked the Intelligence Community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion, and to report back to me in 90 days,” Biden said in the statement released by the White House.
“As part of that report, I have asked for areas of further inquiry that may be required, including specific questions for China. I have also asked that this effort include work by our National Labs and other agencies of our government to augment the Intelligence Community’s efforts. And I have asked the Intelligence Community to keep Congress fully apprised of its work.”
Earlier work by the intelligence community produced no definitive conclusion, with some agencies leaning toward supporting the official Chinese explanation and others to the possibility of a lab leak.
“The majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other,” Biden said.
“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.”
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.), the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told The Epoch Times on May 26 that the committee “will continue to lead and urge the Biden administration and the U.S. government to investigate, hold China accountable, and get information in the public domain for answers on how the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“We welcome and are encouraged by the bipartisan support within the Committee to investigate if COVID-19 originated in a laboratory accident. We can’t leave any stone unturned,” she said.
Congressional correspondent Mark Tapscott may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org