House Democrats on Tuesday blocked a GOP bill which would require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information related to the US government's investigations into the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic - and in particular, what role the Wuhan Institute of Virology may have played in the outbreak.
The bill failed in the House by a vote of 216 - 207.
The COVID-19 Origin Act was introduced in the Senate by Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN), and was passed unanimously in May, according to Townhall. Then, it was brought to the House floor by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) along with Reps. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Darin LaHood (R-IL).
"The best disinfectant is sunlight and that's what we can provide today," said Wenstrup. "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," he 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?"
FLOOR ALERT: @HouseDemocrats blocked @HouseGOP requests to declassify intelligence on the origins of COVID-19 & #ChineseCommunistParty's subsequent cover-up. The Senate UNANIMOUSLY passed the bill 5⃣5⃣ days ago...what is the Speaker afraid of? #HoldChinaAccountable pic.twitter.com/uOzbadQ41q— House Rules Republicans (@RulesReps) July 20, 2021
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."
"The bottom line is Americans deserve a full accounting of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic," he added. -Townhall
I joined @RepBradWenstrup to request consideration of legislation to declassify the intelligence related to COVID-19 origins & hold China accountable - a bill the Senate unanimously passed. Americans deserve full transparency about COVID-19 origins, but Dems blocked our request. pic.twitter.com/4N2p57f7yd— Darin LaHood (@RepLaHood) July 20, 2021
In April, Hawley noted that "for over a year, anyone asking questions about the Wuhan Institute if Virology has been branded as a conspiracy theorist," adding "the world needs to know if this pandemic was the product of negligence at the Wuhan lab but the [Chinese Communist Party] has done everything it can to block a credible investigation. That's why the Biden administration must declassify what it knows about the Wuhan lab and Beijing's attempts to cover up the origin of the pandemic."
As The Federalist notes, "House Democrats’ vote against transparency comes just days after the World Health Organization urged China to cooperate with their second inquiry into the virus’s origins, citing previous difficulty working with the communist regime when China refused to share raw patient data with the WHO during the first round of investigations.