The Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a bill proposed by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN) requiring President Joe Biden to declassify intelligence related to any potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The American people deserve to know about the origins of COVID-19. They deserve to know how this terrible pandemic that has ravaged the globe and our country, how it got started and what China’s role was in starting it,” Hawley said on the Senate floor.
Hawley, who first called for an international investigation into China’s role in the spread of the virus in March 2020, noted that there has been increasing speculation from government officials on the possibility the virus originated from the WIV.
“Well, I think it’s time that the American people got to decide for themselves. It’s time that they actually got to see the evidence that the United States government has collected on this issue,” he said.
Braun called his support for the bill “an easy one.”
He cited a recent Wall Street Journal report that said three researchers from WIV became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report.
“The intelligence communities, in our own country, are storing information, that needs to be revealed to the American public. It needs to be revealed to anyone who can look at it and make sense out of what has happened,” Braun said.
“Who disagrees with transparency?” Braun said. “It makes sense.”
The bill would have to be passed in the House before being sent to the president.
The bill’s unanimous passing in the Senate came a day after Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to do a 90-day investigation into whether COVID-19 came from he WIV, after his administration said for weeks it would defer to the World Health Organization for answers.
Democrats and mainstream media figures had previously criticized Trump administration officials for suggesting the virus came from the WIV, accusing them of trying to avoid blame for the handling of the virus in the U.S.
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