Jun 21 2021
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the COVID Act of 2021 to authorize sanctions and other restrictions in the event that, 90 days after enactment, the Chinese Communist Party fails to allow for a credible and comprehensive investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at suspected laboratories in Wuhan. Rubio’s bill would sanction leadership of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), including its more than 100 affiliated institutes and laboratories, 13 local branches, and two universities. The COVID Act would also suspend federal research funding across academic fields that involve any of the aforementioned institutions, plus the more than 430 science and technology enterprises created by the CAS or founded with CAS investment. Additionally, this 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 PRC-based individual or institution. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI) will introduce a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
“The Chinese Communist Party does not want a full, forensic investigation into the origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said. “If they did, it would have happened at some point during the last 18 months. Instead of hoping the Chinese authorities will suddenly cooperate, the United States needs to compel them to cooperate. One obvious step in that direction is to cut off federal funding for research conducted with these state-run Chinese entities. Additionally, we must impose sanctions against the leadership of these entities and exact a personal cost. It is time for the U.S. to take action and lead an international response that settles for nothing less than a full forensic investigation of the Wuhan labs.”
Rubio is Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.