Tommy Tuberville joins legislation to investigate COVID-19 origins

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Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., leaves a republican policy luncheon as the Senate moves from passage of the infrastructure bill (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Senator Tommy Tuberville joined Florida senator Marco Rubio and 14 other colleagues to introduce the Coronavirus Origin Validation, Investigation, and Determination (COVID) Act of 2022. This bill aims to press for an international investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at laboratories in Wuhan. If passed, the COVID Act of 2022 would authorize sanctions if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fails to allow such an investigation within 90 days of the bill’s enactment.

Sen. Tuberville stated, “Since day one, the Chinese government has been anything but transparent and credible as we pushed for answers on the origins of this virus. That must change. This legislation will hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the American lives taken by COVID and make it clear that actions will be met with consequences.”

According to the bill, the COVID Act would sanction the leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and its affiliated institutes and laboratories, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology. It would also suspend federal research funding across all academic fields for studies that involve the CAS. Additionally, the bill would impose a prohibition on gain-of-function virus research cooperation between any individual or institution based in the United States that receives federal funding and any People’s Republic of China-based individual or institution. 

Rubio stated, “For two years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has stonewalled all efforts to uncover the true origins of COVID-19. We know the virus originated in China, however, the CCP’s attempts to obfuscate the truth has led to countless deaths and needless suffering worldwide. It is clear that Beijing will only respond to concerted pressure from the United States and the international community. My bill will force the CCP to the table.” 

Other bill sponsors include Senators Tim Scott, John Cornyn, Rick Scott, Kevin Cramer, Roger Marshall, Steve Daines, Chuck Grassley, James Lankford, Ben Sasse, Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mike Braun, Marsha Blackburn, Bill Hagerty, and John Kennedy.