Despite the denial of the Democrats and their loyal media supporters that coronavirus was, in fact, “The China Virus,” as former President Donald Trump called it, the party in power and much of the media has backtracked and is now pretending their outrage never occurred.
Whether Republicans are correct in saying Joe Biden canceled Trump’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 or not, the current president – who denies that allegation – has begun a probe of his own. Congressional Democrats seem to be following the Biden administration’s lead and backing what they’re now calling bipartisan legislation that could place the blame squarely on China – and provide an appropriate response. Either way, Beijing beware: Congress is coming!
Made in America
The “Made in America Emergency Preparedness Act” would establish a bipartisan commission – much like the one formed after the September 11 terror attack – to investigate how the pandemic started. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) introduced a bill with the same title in 2020. It was originally co-sponsored by two Republicans and four Democrats – ultimately being co-sponsored by 11 Republicans and 12 Democrats – but never made its way out of committee.
The bill outlines:
“This bill establishes in the legislative branch a National Commission on United States Preparedness for National Emergencies.
Not later than 18 months after this bill’s enactment, the commission shall report to the President and Congress regarding (1) which medical, pharmaceutical, and emergency preparedness products are determined to be essential; and (2) actions states should take to be better prepared, national federal stockpile requirements, and national surge capacity infrastructure deficiencies in hospitals and medical centers.
The bill (1) requires certain medical, pharmaceutical, and emergency preparedness products integral to the response to a national emergency to be manufactured and procured within the United States; and (2) provides for a temporary 100% expensing for firms that incur costs associated with pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing within the United States, including personal protective equipment and other necessary items.”
This new version will be introduced by five Democrats and five Republicans. That isn’t a much greater number than its predecessor, but without the obstruction of anti-Trump opposition to stop it, this bill could become law.
Reps. Fitzpatrick and Connor Lamb (D-PA) are introducing a second bill, dubbed the “Never Again International Outbreak Prevention Act.” If passed, this will strip China – and any other countries that have “intentionally misled the international community on the outbreak” – of its sovereign immunity. As defined by Cornell Law School, sovereign immunity “refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.” Who would consent to being sued? Well, if successful, this bill will render that question moot, allowing families to sue in U.S. courts.
Again, this seems to be a legislative mulligan for Rep. Fitzpatrick, who introduced presumably the same bill last year. The outline of that bill reads:
“The President must take specified action with respect to countries that are deemed capable of implementing (reporting) procedures and standards but have not done so. The President may also sanction government officials of such countries.
Foreign state sovereign immunity is waived in any case seeking damages against a foreign state for (1) injury or death in the United States caused by a state’s failure to abide by such procedures and standards, or (2) intentionally misleading the international community or the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the outbreak or spread of a health concern that leads to a pandemic.
The President must facilitate (1) an international investigation and report on the response to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019), and (2) an international audit of the WHO relating to its actions in response to COVID-19.
The U.S. Representative to the United Nations (U.N.) must request that the U.N. (1) review the WHO’s response to COVID-19, and (2) recommend actions to improve future responses and ensure WHO accountability for identified failures. The Representative shall seek a global ban on wet markets (markets where animals of uncertified origin and health are sold in unhygienic conditions, dead or alive, for human consumption).”
Rep. Lamb – the Democrat co-sponsor this year – was the only initial supporter of the previous attempt, too. It was introduced, but never even referred to a committee.
WHO Plays Ball, but China Won’t
The World Health Organization (WHO), which has been accused of running cover for China, is now investigating the origins of the virus, but China won’t play ball. This refusal, however, has spurred the Biden administration to speed up the process of declassifying U.S. intelligence on the topic, Fox News reports. China, however, announced during a meeting of the World Health Assembly that it would not participate or support a second phase of the investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
Should Beijing Beware, or Can China Keep Calm?
Until the texts of the new bills are made available, it’s mere speculation – though, one might argue, certainly quite likely – that these bills will be almost identical to their predecessors. In any case, the lack of initial success of those bills may not bode well for these two efforts. Still, with the Biden administration leading the Democrats and the media down the rabbit hole – and with no need to oppose Trump anymore – it is possible these bills won’t share the same bleak fate.
It should come as no surprise that China will obstruct any investigation, and some might wonder what good it will do to sue China if the communist country simply ignores the rulings. Still, so long as China holds assets in the U.S., there is potential – assuming these legislative efforts are anything more than virtue signaling to the Biden administration. And for those who suffered because of COVID, this may be a light at the end of a dark tunnel.
Read more from James Fite.