While conversation continues as to the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus, which may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, Republicans in both houses of Congress are taking steps to ensure there is more transparency, including when it comes to ensuring American taxpayers do not have to fund that Wuhan lab. Townhall spoke to one of those Republicans, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, about how she is contributing to such efforts.
The senator, along with fellow Republicans Roger Marshall of Kansas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin has introduced an amendment to the Endless Frontier Act, which was introduced last month by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Sen. Ernst's office provided a copy of the amendment to Townhall, which is a "PROHIBITION ON FEDERAL FUNDING FOR WUHAN INSTITUTE OF VIROLOGY." It reads as follows: "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal funding may be available to the Wuhan Institute of Virology located in the People's Republic of China."
"The world deserves answers on the origins of COVID, but Red China refuses to cooperate with international efforts. U.S. tax dollars were being funneled into China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology for research on dangerous coronaviruses. I’m fighting to ensure not another dime of your tax dollars is spent in this CCP lab and to discover how COVID was unleashed so we can hopefully prevent another pandemic in the future," Sen. Ernst told Townhall.
The White Coat Waste Project, which exposes taxpayer funded animal experiments, has been leading efforts to defund the Wuhan lab. "Shipping tax dollars to the notorious CCP-run Wuhan animal lab where there’s no transparency and accountability about how our money is spent is a recipe for disaster. Taxpayers should not be forced to bankroll animal experiments to supercharge coronaviruses or any other reckless spending at this bio-agent lab and recent polls show that a majority of Democrat and Republican voters agree. We applaud Sens. Ernst, Marshall and Johnson for their outstanding efforts to protect taxpayers and public health by introducing legislation to permanently defund the Wuhan animal lab," their president, Anthony Bellotti said in a statement.
In addition to a Wednesday blog post highlighting and celebrating these most recent efforts, which include Sen. Ernst's amendment, the watchdog group also pointed to the bipartisan Strategic Competition Act, which earlier this month was added to the senate's legislative calendar. Such legislation, introduced by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and James Risch (R-ID), calls on the federal government to declassify information about the Wuhan lab.
These efforts exist in the House, as well. Last week the Defund the Wuhan Institute of Virology Act was introduced by Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) and other Republicans which will permanently defund that lab.
One Republican congressman particularly keen on seeing more transparency to do with the lab and the virus' origins is Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, whom Townhall spoke to last week about declassifying the intel, which he calls "too important." He introduced a bill last week to do just that.
On Wednesday, Republicans on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) released "In Focus: COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology," which lays out evidence supporting the lab leak theory. Jerry Dunleavy included a copy in his reporting for the Washington Examiner. Examples of evidence include:
- China’s history of research lab leaks resulting in infections.
- Warnings from U.S. diplomats in China as early as 2017 that the Wuhan lab was conducting dangerous research on coronaviruses without following necessary safety protocols, risking the accidental outbreak of a pandemic.
- Gain of Function research being conducted at the Wuhan lab that made coronaviruses more infectious in humans.
- Several researchers at Wuhan lab were sickened with COVID-19-like symptoms in fall 2019.
- The involvement in the Wuhan lab of the Chinese military, which has a documented biological weapons program.
- Multiple indications of attempts by Beijing to cover up the true circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.
John Soloman's piece for Just the News, "How the COVID lab leak theory went from panned to seriously considered," was a part of Real Clear Politics' Thursday Morning Edition.
Townhall has followed the evasiveness of Dr. Anthony Fauci on this issue, who denied in a fiery exchange with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during a committee hearing that NIH funded gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab.
A February blog post from the White Coat Waste Project, however, included an update from just last week that "A new WCW investigation reveals that a literally sickening loophole STILL lets NIH ship your money to the Wuhan Animal Lab."
"The possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic started with a laboratory acquired infection at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and could have happened during coronavirus ‘infection experiments’ funded by NIAID, is reason enough to cut off funding. The U.S. should have never funded gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens, and least of all at foreign institutions that lay outside of our regulatory control," Ronnie Cummins the International Director of the Organic Consumers Association and bestselling coauthor of "The Truth About COVID-19," said in a statement.
Rep. Gallagher, as have others, have highlighted science writer Nicholas Wade's "Origin of Covid — Following the Clues," which serves as an in-depth analysis of both the lab leak and animal transmission theory, with many readers having found the lab leak theory to be compelling.