With the support of U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and more than a dozen other Republicans in the U.S. Senate, this week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced the “Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act.”
Rubio brought out the bill on Monday and his office showcased it on Tuesday.
“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,” Rubio’s office noted.
“This legislation builds on Rubio’s COVID Act of 2021 by adding further sanctions on Chinese officials who were involved in concealing the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in China from the international community, restricting the release of information related to the outbreak, understating the severity of the outbreak, and obstructing an international investigation into the origin of the outbreak,” Rubio’s office added.
“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,” 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.”
As of Wednesday morning, the bill had not been assigned to a committee and there is no companion measure over in the U.S. House. The bill will have a tough time making it though Capitol Hill this year with Democrats in control of both chambers.
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