Calls are growing in Congress for a retrospective investigation into the New Coronavirus. A select committee of House Republicans is expected to hold hearings next week and will invite expert testimony on various theories and claims about the origins of the New Coronavirus pandemic. In addition, some Republican leaders say they have focused their tracing efforts on the Wuhan Virus Institute and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led a press conference with members of his party’s leadership on Wednesday (June 23), calling for bipartisan congressional action to hold Beijing accountable on the New Guinea virus epidemic.
McCarthy, who is from California, noted that as of June, the New Crown epidemic had killed more than 600,000 Americans and up to 3.8 million people worldwide. McCarthy said, “We need to provide a path for the American people to be able to hold the Chinese government directly accountable for the lives their loved ones have lost, lives that have been lost because of China’s lies.”
“We need to restrict visas, yes, and we need to impose sanctions so that they feel the pain of what they’re doing,” McCarthy said at a press conference.
McCarthy sent a letter to House Republicans Monday proposing an “eight-pillar” plan to hold Beijing accountable for the cover-up and traceability of the New Crown outbreak, including sanctions against those involved in the cover-up.
The eight pillars include: declassifying intelligence related to the origin of New Crown; prohibiting gain-of-function research in or with China; prohibiting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from providing funds to the malicious foreign governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea; reforming the World Health Organization and conducting counterintelligence investigations of U.S. medical research institutions to determine the extent to which the governments of China, Russia, Iran and North Korea have The House would continue to investigate the origins of the New Crown virus; impose economic sanctions and visa and entry restrictions on those in China with ties to the Chinese Communist Party, WHO, or other international organizations who knowingly participated in the cover-up of the New Crown outbreak; waive China’s sovereign immunity so that U.S. victims can pursue claims against the Chinese Communist Party; and move the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), speaking at a press conference, called on “Congress to conduct an in-depth and comprehensive investigation into the origins of the new coronavirus.
Scalise said more and more evidence has surfaced in the past few months that the origin of the virus likely came from a laboratory in Wuhan, and that Republicans will not continue to do nothing.
He went on to say, “House Republicans are not going to sit back and wait for this to happen, and we will continue to ask House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to hold formal hearings in the committees to which she is accountable.”
“In the meantime, we are announcing the formation of a special subcommittee on the New Coronavirus, and Republicans will hold hearings next week on the origins of the New Coronavirus,” said Scalise, “We have invited several top scientists to testify, some have agreed to appear, and I hope all will eventually come. We will also invite colleagues who have conducted investigations into the origin of the virus at different levels to testify.”
The Voice of America understands that this special subcommittee on New Coronavirus is sponsored and composed of House Republicans. A hearing on the traceability of New Crown will be held next Tuesday, June 29. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), the ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will testify, the subcommittee staffer told VOA.
McCaul, who is also chairman of the House China Working Group, said at a press conference Wednesday that the world needs to know the truth. “As we said, we need to hold China accountable for this, and if we don’t, who will?” Rep. McCaul said.
The House China Task Force, led by McCaul, had released a report on the traceability of the new crown in late September last year, which mentioned the possibility that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory.
“In this report, we raised the possibility that the virus came from a Level IV bioassay laboratory in Wuhan. It’s not hard to connect all these dots, right? From that point on, I figured it could have come out of the lab as more and more evidence continued to emerge,” McCall said at the press conference.
McCall further stressed in the Voice of America interview that the relationship between the Wuhan lab and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army would be the subject of his utmost concern.
“One of the elements of our investigation is the presence of the People’s Liberation Army at the lab, why has the military been there since 2017? And, what are they doing in the lab? Did they violate the rules of biochemical warfare training? These are very serious questions, and if President Xi does not disclose the lab to cooperate with the investigation, I fear we will never know the answers,” McCall said.
McCall also noted that the community later discovered that the Wuhan lab had conducted genetically manipulated virus research on the new coronavirus, known as “gain of function” research. McCall questioned why China was hiding so many of the world’s unsolved mysteries.
McCaul, however, did not say whether he believed the virus was just an accidental leak from a general laboratory or was related to China’s biochemical experiments.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Republican leadership on the one hand called on congressional Democrats, led by Pelosi, to join the investigation into the virus’ traceability efforts, but at the same time harshly criticized Democrats for refusing to start bipartisan cooperation on the issue.
At a press conference, McCarthy questioned, “Why is Speaker Pelosi helping China cover up their role in the origin of the New Coronavirus? Especially as the days go by, it’s getting harder and harder for the community to get all the facts that are available. We know that some American scientists have had dealings with that (Wuhan) lab, and together we’re fighting for that information, together we’re getting the facts out there, together we’re making things transparent so we can finally be accountable.”
Andonna Biel, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, issued a written statement after McCarthy’s press conference pushing back hard against Republican criticism and outcry, and pointing the finger of criticism at former President Trump.
“House Republican leaders were silent when Trump turned a blind eye to China’s mishandling of the New Crown virus and even praised them for their ‘efforts and transparency,'” Biel said in the statement, adding, “The American people have President Biden and the Democrats to thank for getting us through this pandemic, providing hundreds of millions of dollars in vaccines, and rebuilding the economy.”