Biden Signs Legislation to Declassify Coronavirus Origins, Overturn D.C. Crime Bill

US President Joe Biden speaks to reporters prior to boarding Air Force One at Buffalo Niag
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden signed a pair of bills into law on Monday that would declassify information related to the origins of the coronavirus and overturn the controversial Washington, DC, soft-on-crime bill.

The Covid-19 Origin Act, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), unanimously passed both chambers of Congress.

The bill directs the Director of National Intelligence to “declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin” of the coronavirus.

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, speaks during a Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Hawley introduced the legislation after the Department of Energy concluded, with “low confidence,” that the coronavirus could have originated from a Chinese laboratory.

Biden acknowledged the need to “get to the bottom” of the coronavirus’ origins in a statement on Monday.

“We need to get to the bottom of COVID-19’s origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics,” Biden said in a statement. “My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to COVID–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“In implementing this legislation, my Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security,” Biden added.

On the same day, Biden signed a Republican-led effort to overturn D.C.’s crime bill. That crime bill reduced penalties for several violent offenses like carjacking, burglary, and robbery.

Although D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) vetoed the bill, the D.C. Council overrode the mayor’s veto by a 12-1 vote last month.

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks alongside gun control activists at the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence on the National Mall June 11, 2022 in Washington, DC. The March For Our Lives movement was spurred by the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018. After recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, a bipartisan group of Senators continue to negotiate a potential compromise deal on gun violence and gun safety legislation. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser speaks alongside gun control activists at the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence on the National Mall June 11, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

However, Congress can override local D.C. laws through a rarely used resolution of disapproval. Biden alienated members of his party when he signaled support for the GOP-led effort to overturn the crime bill.

“I support D.C. statehood and home-rule — but I don’t support some of the changes D.C. Council put forward over the mayor’s objections — such as lowering penalties for carjackings,” the president tweeted on March 2. “If the Senate votes to overturn what D.C. Council did — I’ll sign it.”

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter.


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