Members of the Democratic Blue Dog Coalition are urging House leadership to launch a bipartisan investigation into COVID-19’s origins in China.
The coalition, made up of conservative or centrist Democrats, wants a bipartisan commission to assess the U.S. preparations and response to the outbreak, as well as the origins of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
“In the wake of both the 9-11 attacks and the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Congress came together on a bipartisan basis to establish independent commissions to learn from the past and prepare for the future,” the members wrote. “It would be unthinkable if Congress were not to follow this sound precedent and establish a commission to investigate a pandemic that has already claimed the lives of more than 600,000 Americans and upended our nation’s economy.”
The letter underscores the growing bipartisan interest in investigating the COVID-19 origins, which has been an issue pushed by Republicans since early in the pandemic.
Democrats and the news media throughout 2020 largely dismissed speculation about China’s role in COVID-19 as a conspiracy. In recent months, interest has grown in investigating the origins of the disease. President Biden in May ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to probe COVID-19 origins and report back in late August.
The Blue Dogs’ proposed commission would consist of 10 members, including five Republicans and five Democrats, who would be supported by a nonpartisan staff of various subject-matter experts.
The commission would aim to explore the emergence of COVID-19 and its spread in the United States, as well as the country’s preparedness and response.
A report over the findings would be offered to Congress, the executive branch, and the public, recommending concrete steps the public and private sectors could take to mitigate any potential pandemics in the future.
Members of the Blue Dog Coalition who signed onto the letter include its chairs, Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Tom O’Halleran, Abigail Spanberger, and Ed Case, as well as other members including Reps. Mikie Sherrill, and Josh Gottheimer.
In June, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, unveiled a GOP-led 8-step plan on holding China accountable, including pursuing more COVID-19 investigations led by the United States government.