Even as Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials said they would not comply with a second World Health Organization (WHO) probe into the pandemic’s origins, on July 20 House Democrats blocked bipartisan legislation that would require the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to declassify information related to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically what role the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) played in the outbreak.
The uncontroversial COVID-19 Origin Act was proposed by Republicans but passed unanimously in the Senate in May. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) brought the Senate bill to the House floor on Tuesday night before Democrats voted it down in a party line vote.
The bill focuses on declassifying intelligence to help identify the origin of COVID-19 to help prevent a similar pandemic in the future. The bill also noted that Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admitted in March that more investigation into the theory that the virus leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, is justified.
Last week the vice minister of China’s National Health Commission chief, Zeng Yixin said WHO’s suggestion does “not respect common sense and violated science,” noting further that Beijing “cannot accept this kind of plan for origin-tracing.”
When asked about CCP officials’ comments during a briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, according to Townhall:
We have certainly seen the [CCP’s] comments, again, rejecting phase two of the WHO study. We are deeply disappointed. Their position is irresponsible, and frankly, dangerous. It’s not a time to be stonewalling.
Identifying the true origins of COVID is critical to not only assigning blame and correcting mistakes, but to preventing a similar outbreak in the future. Why would House Democrats vote to block this bipartisan Senate bill?
The final vote on considering the measure was 216 against and 207 in favor. House Republican, Rep. Doug Lamborn tweeted this in response:
Democrats just voted against @HawleyMO’s legislation which would declassify all intelligence surrounding the origin of COVID-19 and the #CCP’s Wuhan Institute of Virology. What are Democrats afraid of? #ChinaLiedPeopleDied
Breaking 🚨 Democrats just voted against @HawleyMO‘s legislation which would declassify all intelligence surrounding the origin of COVID-19 and the #CCP‘s Wuhan Institute of Virology. What are Democrats afraid of? #ChinaLiedPeopleDied
— Rep. Doug Lamborn (@RepDLamborn) July 20, 2021
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), another co-sponsor, said Tuesday that the purpose of the bill would require the Director of National Intelligence’s office to declassify “any potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology” and COVID-19. In a tweet, LaHood said Democrats blocked their request.
The best disinfectant is sunlight and that’s what we can provide today. The bill first establishes that we must identify the precise origins of COVID-19 because it is critical for preventing a similar pandemic in the future.
I cannot stress enough that this bill is not controversial by any means. In fact, it passed the Senate in May with unanimous consent — not one senator objected. Not Senators Ted Cruz or Rand Paul, not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. If those four members can get on board with this bill, should not we be able to do the same?