As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the world, questions surrounding its origins remain as elusive as a conclusive cure. In a renewed effort to peel back the layers of uncertainty and bureaucratic resistance, two GOP lawmakers, Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), are introducing the HHS COVID-19 Origin Transparency Act.
The proposed legislation aims to compel the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to release all records concerning the emergence of the virus. Failure to do so would result in a daily fine of $1 million, channeled to paying off the national debt.
Two Republicans want to force Biden admin to release all the records on COVID-19's origin https://t.co/GQwYNHMUWQ
— Fox News Politics (@foxnewspolitics) September 8, 2023
For Roy and Marshall, the pursuit of transparency is non-negotiable. “The public health regime continues to conceal the truth regarding the origins of COVID-19, vaccine development, masks, and the pandemic as a whole,” Roy expressed. He believes the bill will “cut through bureaucratic stonewalling and let the American people finally seek the truth wherever it may lead.”
Marshall reiterates the urgency, indicating an “ongoing cover-up” about the virus’s origins, adding, “It’s past time for answers — this is a matter of national security.”
Rep. Roy warned about what would happen when Congress jammed through the debt limit "deal"
Now the Biden admin is spending more than $277MM for trials on "next-generation vaccines"@HouseGOP should REJECT any funding for the return of COVID tyranny#NoSecurityNoFunding pic.twitter.com/7XCQel2WBf
— Rep. Chip Roy Press Office (@RepChipRoy) August 30, 2023
The legislation isn’t simply asking for vague documentation. It specifies that a record related to “sick researchers in Wuhan, China, during the Fall of 2019” should include their names, roles at the laboratory, symptoms, and dates of symptom onset. It also demands the release of all “unpublished and unreleased records,” even those “pending authorization or other approval from any organization of the People’s Republic of China.”
If enacted, this bill would also require the HHS secretary to submit a report to Congress summarizing each item of information described in the required publications. Since Congress had mandated a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) on COVID-19 origins earlier, which many considered lackluster, the stakes are high for a more transparent accounting this time.
This legislative push indicates the frustration and skepticism among Americans, especially in conservative circles. For years, lawmakers and citizens have asked the Biden administration for transparency concerning COVID-19’s origins. The delay in providing answers fuels suspicions and hampers the United States’ ability to respond to similar crises in the future effectively.
The Republican-led initiative parallels a bill led by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) designed to require the director of national intelligence to declassify COVID-19 origins documents. That it had to come to this, to legislative action to force transparency, speaks volumes about the Biden administration’s approach to this crisis.
Transparency should not be a partisan issue. It is a bedrock principle of democratic governance. The public’s right to know should transcend political divides, particularly during a pandemic that has claimed millions of lives globally and disrupted daily life.