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Holding China Accountable: A Republican Call to Action & Roadmap for Covid-19 Accountability

A letter to House Republicans from Leader Kevin McCarthy:

Last week, I wrote to you saying that our country was dealt a significant blow by the coronavirus and that the Democrats in Congress and the White House have no plan to hold China accountable. 

This letter offers eight pillars we will introduce to deliver transparency and justice as Republicans continue to lead on behalf of the American people. 

As of June, more than 600,000 Americans and 3.8 million people have died worldwide as a result of Covid-19. 

The unfortunate reality is that countless friends and family members could have been saved had it not been for the deception of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). A March 2020 report by the University of Southampton found if interventions in China could have been conducted one, two, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively. 

Evidence continues to indicate that the CCP intentionally hid information and lied about what it knew to be true about the virus. Additionally, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom knowingly and willfully downplayed or outright denied the Chinese government’s malfeasance, and instead chose to cower to the CCP rather than stand up for the international community.  

Like all of you, I am deeply angry about the avoidable loss of life, hope, and futures resulting from the CCP’s actions. They and their conspirators must be held accountable. 

However, despite the CCP’s duplicity, the United States stands resilient.  It is the American men and women who led the way in creating and distributing the multiple available vaccines who we have to thank as we defeat this virus, from President Trump and his Administration to scientists and truck drivers, nurses and factory line workers. The spirit and determination we’ve seen over the last year and a half should make us all proud to be part of this country. 

This isn’t a point of Republican pride. It is American pride, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, because when our country is under siege, manmade or otherwise, we stand together.  However, the path forward to address this threat and bring the responsible parties to justice is where we have diverged. 

President Joe Biden has failed to utilize any of his broad powers to hold China accountable and has willingly given up valuable leverage to force constructive change at the WHO. It is clear the American people can’t count on the Administration or Democrats in Congress to take meaningful action to find the truth and demand justice.

But we have and will continue to fight. Members throughout the conference have been speaking up, getting to work, and making it known House Republicans will always stand up for America.  

Whip Steve Scalise with the Republican Members on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, along with Ranking Member of the Oversight and Reform Committee James Comer, led our conference (over 200 members) in demanding Speaker Nancy Pelosi allow a congressional probe into the virus’s origins. Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers has also led oversight measures for our conference on the origins and funding related to coronavirus research.

Last week, Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Rob Wittman introduced legislation to sanction Chinese officials involved in the coverup. Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Mike McCaul has leveraged his committee and the China Task Force to ensure accountability of the CCP and WHO. 

Congressman Dan Crenshaw introduced legislation last year to give Americans the opportunity to seek damages from China’s deception. Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick have also introduced legislation to do the same. Congressman Chris Smith has been a vocal leader on relocating the 24th Olympic Games — an honor undeserved by the CCP. 

These are just a few examples.  To all of our members, your work is not unnoticed by the rest of America. 

I have emphasized the importance of our conference remaining relentlessly focused on the issues and adhering to a simple question: how will we make life better for every American? It starts by first letting them know we have their backs. When a foreign entity is responsible for the deaths, loss of livelihoods, and permanent alterations to the way of life of our citizens, we do something about it. 

We can start with these eight pillars that deliver transparency and justice to the American people: 

Transparency

1. Declassification of Intelligence: House Republicans will introduce legislation to require declassification of information related to the origins of Covid-19, including in any report that comes from President Biden’s recent request. 

2. Prohibition Gain of Function Research in and with China: We must ensure the United States no longer funds any gain of function research conducted in or with China, or any individual with known ties to the CCP. 

3. Prohibition on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding to Malevolent Foreign Governments: Congress should prohibit NIH funding to grantees or subgrantees from doing research with irresponsible foreign governments or entities who are intent on harming the United States, its allies, or the American people, such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.  

4. WHO Overhaul and Counterintelligence Investigation: WHO Director-General Tedros should step down from his post at the WHO; Taiwan should be granted observer status at the WHO; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with the U.S. Intelligence Community, should conduct a counterintelligence investigation into the U.S. medical research establishment to determine the extent to which the governments of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have infiltrated critical U.S. organizations. 

 Justice

5. Investigations and Utilizing Existing Authorities: President Biden and Congress must continue to investigate the origins of Covid-19. 

6. Visa Restrictions and Sanctions: Congress should pass a new sanctions regime imposing economic sanctions and visa and admissibility restrictions on those in China, associated with the CCP, WHO, or other international organizations who knowingly and willfully participated in the Covid-19 coverup.

7. Waiving Chinese Sovereign Immunity: The families of those who have died from Covid-19 should be given the option to file suit against the Chinese government for damages incurred as a result of the reckless conduct of the CCP. Several Republican members, including Dan Crenshaw, Ann Wagner, and Brian Fitzpatrick, have introduced legislation allowing such lawsuits to go forward.

8. Relocation of the 24th Olympic Winter Games: Given the CCP’s active coverup of Covid-19 and contribution to the 3.8 million deaths worldwide, China should not be rewarded by allowing Beijing to host the Winter Olympics in 2022. 

I intend to introduce this framework this week with many of our colleagues. America needs leadership and Republicans are ready to deliver. 

Kevin McCarthy