WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committees, today joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and 14 other GOP colleagues in introducing the Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act of 2022.
“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,” Senator 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.”
“For two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stonewalled all efforts to uncover the true origins of COVID-19,” Senator 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.”
The bill would authorize sanctions if, 90 days after enactment, the Chinese Communist Party fails to allow for a credible and comprehensive international investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at laboratories in Wuhan that engaged in risky research involving bat coronaviruses.
Specifically, the bill would sanction the leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and its affiliated institutes and laboratories, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. 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.