Tennessee Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations Committees, joined 15 of his GOP colleagues to introduce the Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act of 2022, according to a Tuesday press release by the senator’s office.
“The Americans whose lives and livelihoods suffered due to the pandemic deserve the unvarnished truth about the pandemic’s origins,” Hagerty said.
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, the press release states. 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.
Additionally, the bill would 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 press release notes.
“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.”
Republican Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Rick Scott (R-FL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Mike Braun (R-IN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and John Kennedy (R-LA) joined Senator Hagerty in introducing the bill.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]