Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Rep. Lance Gooden Introduce Bill to Hold China Accountable for Coronavirus

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., watches election returns in her race for the U.S. Senate with former Gov. Phil Bredesen Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Franklin, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The United States must demand an explanation of the novel coronavirus origins, and Congress should pass the Stop COVID Act, according to Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX). This, they assert, will “hold China accountable for unleashing COVID-19 on our country.”

In an op-ed on Monday, the two lawmakers detailed their call to pass the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases Act, or Stop COVID Act, which would essentially “open up a set of legal tools that will enable the public to sue and seek compensation if they have suffered harm resulting from China’s role in spreading this virus,” the lawmakers wrote.

Specifically, the bill would “amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) to allow the DOJ to investigate the coronavirus pandemic and allow the DOJ to file claims against the Chinese Communist Party in the United States,” as Breitbart News detailed.

“Right now, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is a shield for the Chinese Communist Party to hide behind,” they explained in the op-ed. “This legislation takes away that protection and eliminates sovereign immunity for states that spread biological agents.”

“If China was indeed responsible for the release of this deadly virus, its officials will no longer enjoy immunity from litigation in U.S. courts,” they said, noting that the move is not unprecedented:

In 2016, Congress passed the 9/11-driven Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act to give more legal remedies to the victims and families of terrorist attacks. To date, U.S. deaths due to COVID-19 now outnumber the deaths caused by the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Chinese Communist Party, they contend, has “repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to lie to the world about this deadly and costly outbreak,” enlisting the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) in its efforts. China has proven itself to be unreliable and the media have actively “supported the CCP’s arguments so long as they have differed from those made by President Trump,” they added.

“The only path forward is to enable an independent investigation of the facts,” they said.

Gooden proposed the measure this month and explained that current laws “shield the Chinese Communist Party from legal action.”

“The Stop COVID Act will give our Justice Department the authority it needs to shed light on this pandemic,” Gooden told Breitbart News.

Similarly, Blackburn called for a series of actions against communist China, demanding lawmakers finally hold the regime’s feet to the fire for its role in the global pandemic. She detailed a number of avenues U.S. lawmakers could take, from ending “Confucius Institutes” to demanding debt forgiveness from China to reexamining the country’s role in key organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council and W.H.O.

“Because of the way China has acted throughout this coronavirus pandemic, I think it is completely appropriate for us to look at their participation,” Blackburn said during an appearance on Breitbart News Saturday this month.

“How in the world could we rely on them for information about these coronaviruses, which do come out of China,” she said. “Whether we’re looking at SARS or MERS or COVID-19, we know the origination points of these viruses, and China should willingly be more forthcoming with the information that is going to help us and other nations protect our people.”

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