House Republicans have vowed to take a series of actions to hold the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its coverup of the COVID-19 outbreak and to get to the bottom of how the disease started spreading among humans.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on June 23 laid out an eight-pronged plan focused on the communist regime and other bodies to “ensure Americans get the accountability and transparency they deserve.”
“We cannot allow the wrongdoing of China to go unnoticed—and more importantly, to not allow the accountability to happen,” McCarthy said at a press conference in Washington.
President Joe Biden on May 26 ordered the intelligence community to produce a report in 90 days on the origins of the virus, which was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan. He said intelligence agencies are looking at rival theories, including the possibility of a laboratory accident in China.
McCarthy said the House Republican caucus was launching the effort because of reluctance by Democrat members of Congress and the White House to take action to hold the regime to account.
The Biden administration won’t take immediate action on China to pressure the communist regime to allow an independent probe into whether COVID-19 originated in a Wuhan lab until there is an “international consensus,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on June 20.
While the theory that the virus was the result of a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was labeled a “conspiracy theory” last year, it has recently gained traction as a growing number of scientists and officials have lent credence to the hypothesis.
A January State Department fact sheet raised questions about whether the outbreak could have been the result of a lab accident at WIV. It said the United States has “reason to believe” that several WIV researchers became sick with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses in autumn 2019. The department also said the lab had been conducting secret military experiments on animals since at least 2017, and that it has a history of conducting gain-of-function research on viruses. Such research involves modifying viruses to have new or enhanced capabilities.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) questioned why the scientific community earlier dismissed the lab leak theory. “That is a real question before the American people and the world,” he said.
“It’s the worst cover up in human history. Almost 4 million people have died, and 600,000, in the United States,” McCaul said.
McCarthy also has called for a ban on U.S. funding of any gain-of-function research in China and an end to National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding for foreign adversaries such as China, North Korea, Iran, and Russia.
NIH Director Francis Collins acknowledged in a statement last month that the NIH and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases “have for many years supported grants to learn more about viruses lurking in bats and other mammals that have the potential to spill over to humans and cause widespread disease,” but denied that the institutions “have ever approved any grant that would have supported ‘gain-of-function’ research on coronaviruses that would have increased their transmissibility or lethality for humans.”
Republican lawmakers as well as some Democrat members of Congress have already introduced a spate of bills aimed at holding Beijing and accomplices accountable for their coverup of the pandemic. This includes legislation to sanction the CCP officials responsible, remove legal protections to nations so Americans can sue the CCP in U.S. courts to recover pandemic-related losses, and strip the World Health Organization of U.S. funding over its role in aiding the CCP’s coverup by parroting its talking points in the early stages of the pandemic.
McCarthy also wants the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics relocated to another country, as the CCP should not be rewarded with such an honor.
“I think the world should stand together and say that we will not put up with this,” he said. “We will not allow you to kill millions of people around the world and lie about where it started.”