Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), James Lankford (R- Okla.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), and John Kennedy (R-La.) introduced the Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act of 2022.
The COVID Act would also suspend federal research funding across all academic fields for studies that involve the CAS, and impose a prohibition on gain-of-function virus research cooperation between any individual or institution based in the United States that receives federal funding and any PRC-based individual or institution.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s deception on COVID origins has come at the expense of American lives,” Blackburn said. “In no way should the United States enable or encourage the dangerous and deceptive practices of these Chinese-state labs, and this legislation will expand on our existing work by formally levying long overdue sanctions against the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”
“For two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stonewalled all efforts to uncover the true origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said. “We know the virus originated in China, however, the CCP’s attempts to obfuscate the truth has led to countless deaths and needless suffering worldwide. It is clear that Beijing will only respond to concerted pressure from the United States and the international community. My bill will force the CCP to the table.”
“Again and again, General Secretary Xi and his underlings in the Chinese Communist Party have blocked attempts to find the truth by lying about COVID’s transmission, censoring doctors and shifting blame,” R. Scott said. “It’s time for Communist China to come clean and answer for its lies and cover-up on the origins of COVID-19. I’m proud to join Senator Rubio and our colleagues in leading this important bill to hold Communist China accountable.”
“Congress should not have to threaten sanctions to get transparency from the Chinese Communist Party on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cramer said. “This bill will finally provide answers the American people and the world deserve.”
“China lied and Americans died,” Daines said. “We must hold China accountable for their role in the COVID-19 pandemic and conduct a thorough, credible investigation into the origins of COVID-19.”
“Americans rightly want to know the origins of the virus that has impacted every family in America one way or another,” Lankford said. “My Republican colleagues and I are leading the effort to push for a real investigation in China to discover the actual origins of the COVID-19 virus. We will impose sanctions on anyone who tries to obstruct those investigations.”
“The CCP lied about COVID-19, hiding their case numbers from the rest of the world,” Sasse said. “Two years into the pandemic we’re still looking for answers. After years of suffering, the American people deserve truth.”
“The Chinese Communist Party’s inexcusable roadblocks to legitimate scientific investigations of the coronavirus deserve a strong response by the United States and other world leaders,” Hyde-Smith said. “The sanctions outlined in this legislation could finally prompt the CCP to help us understand the origins of a health pandemic that started in China and that continues its global rampage today.”
“The United States must lead the world in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for repeatedly blocking international investigations into origins of the COVID-19 virus that first appeared in Wuhan,” Hagerty said. “The CCP’s stonewalling on these inquiries poses a threat to the national security, economic security, and the public health of the United States, our allies, and other nations. The Americans whose lives and livelihoods suffered due to the pandemic deserve the unvarnished truth about the pandemic’s origins.”
“Two years into this pandemic, China is still gaslighting the world about the origin of the coronavirus and the Communist Party’s role in covering it up,” Kennedy said. “We must pursue the truth with strength. That’s what Beijing understands, that’s the clear-eyed leadership America needs, and that’s what this bill does.”