By a vote of 216 to 207 Tuesday evening, Democrats in the House of Representatives blocked consideration of a bill that would require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information related to the origins of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, specifically information about any role the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have played in the pandemic’s outbreak.
The COVID-19 Origin Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN) and passed unanimously in May.
Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) brought the COVID-19 Origin Act to the House floor for consideration with Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) explaining its importance shortly before Democrats voted down the measure Tuesday night.
“The best disinfectant is sunlight and that’s what we can provide today,” Wenstrup explained of the COVID-19 Origin Act. “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,” Wenstrup continued. “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?”
Rep. LaHood further explained the legislation’s purpose, saying it “would require the Biden administration Director of National Intelligence to declassify intelligence information related to any potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology — also known as the Wuhan lab — and the origins of COVID-19 in order to better prepare and avoid future pandemics.”