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Rubio Urges Immediate Declassification of COVID-19 Report, Calls for Sanctions on Beijing

Aug 25, 2021 | Press Releases

Miami, FL — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, urged the Biden Administration to immediately declassify the inconclusive intelligence community report on the origins of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Rubio also called on Congress to pass his COVID Act of 2021, which would authorize sanctions and other restrictions if the CCP fails to allow for a credible and comprehensive investigation into the origins of COVID-19 at laboratories in Wuhan that studied coronaviruses. 
“The American people deserve to know what our government does and does not know about the origins of COVID-19,” Rubio said. “The Biden Administration needs to immediately transmit the classified report to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and provide a declassified version for the American people.”
“There is now a considerable body of circumstantial evidence, both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cover up of the initial outbreak as well as unusual molecular features of the virus itself, to suggest that a laboratory leak origin is certainly plausible, if not even likely,” Rubio continued. “Beijing blocked a forensic investigation into the origin of COVID-19, silenced whistleblowers, forced doctors and researchers to destroy early virus samples, and imposed political screening of publications to ensure that no research findings could emerge from China to shed light on the origin.”
“The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on Beijing to allow the WHO to investigate the labs in Wuhan, and the United States must do everything in its power to ensure we get those answers,” Rubio concluded. 
On June 5, Rubio wrote in Fox News that “No effort should be spared to understand COVID-19’s origins. We cannot ignore common-sense possibilities just because they’re inconvenient for one political party or one nation. It was never ‘conspiratorial’ to suggest that the first human infection of the coronavirus could have resulted from a laboratory accident. It doesn’t take an overactive imagination to grasp human fallibility, or to wonder why a coronavirus pandemic might first break out in exactly the same city that hosted a laboratory specifically studying this class of viruses.”
On June 21, Rubio introduced the COVID Act of 2021 to authorize sanctions and other restrictions in the event that, 90 days after enactment, the CCP 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) and suspend federal funding for research projects that involve CAS. 
On July 28, Rubio joined Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Mark Warner (D-VA) to send a letter to President Joe Biden asking the administration to take three crucial steps to get to the bottom of the origins of the pandemic.
On August 10, Rubio filed an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution based on the COVID Act, which would have created a Budget Point of Order against any legislation to authorize federal funding for collaborative basic research projects conducted between the United States and the People’s Republic of China involving synthetic biology and/or gain-of-function studies of any potential human pathogen.