By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) – House Republicans have made it clear they plan to use their newfound majority to investigate the origins of COVID-19.
House Committee on Oversight and Reform Ranking Member James Comer, R-Ky., and House Committee on the Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a string of letters to Biden administration officials demanding records, communications and interviews.
“Mounting evidence points to the virus originating from a leak at the Wuhan lab,” Rep. Comer said. “EcoHealth Alliance, a US National Institutes of Health grantee, passed taxpayer funds to the Wuhan lab to conduct gain of function research on bat coronaviruses – research that may have started the pandemic. dr. [Anthony] Fauci was warned early on that the virus appeared man made and pointed to a lab leak and instead of blowing the whistle may have attempted to cover it up.”
House Republicans will have new teeth for their investigations with the majority next year. Lawmakers have highlighted three major investigations going forward: COVID’s origins, Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the related chaos and deaths.
US Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, weighed in as well. He pointed to the recently released report on COVID-19 origins from his committee.
That report said the Biden administration and intelligence communities have not given up the information sought by Congress and raised serious concerns that the American people were misled by the IC about COVID’s origins and that Health and Human Services knew about the risk of funding the Wuhan research but proceeded anyway.
The committee also said that intelligence agencies were quick to say that COVID-19 could become a pandemic but missed an opportunity to spy on the Chinese doctors and officials involved, an opportunity that could have provided invaluable insight into the origin of the virus.
“The American people are owed answers about the origins of COVID-19. Our report states that COVID-19 may have been tied to China’s bioweapons research program and that the Intelligence Community (IC) withheld key information from the American public’s authorized elected officials, deepening public mistrust,” Rep. Wenstrup said. “Our findings also show that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) bears more responsibility for the COVID-19 pandemic than what has been publicly known or transparently communicated to the American people.”
Until answers are found, Congress will keep seeking information, Republicans say.
“The American people deserve answers and accountability. We will continue to follow the facts to determine what, if anything, could have been done differently to guard against the harms Americans have endured during the pandemic,” Rep. Comer said. “We will continue this oversight to hold US government officials accountable for any wrongdoing and ensure Americans’ tax dollars aren’t being used on risky research at unsecure labs.”