Washington, D.C. — Republican Leader for the House Energy and Commerce Committee Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks today during a Republican forum hosted by the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis and Committee on Oversight and Reform regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“To every American who lost a loved one to COVID, every nurse and first responder who worked night & day to fight COVID and keep us safe, & every child who has faced a mental health emergency…they deserve answers.”@cathymcmorris on why we must investigate COVID-19’s origins ↓ pic.twitter.com/8xgle8hiD5
— Energy & Commerce GOP (@HouseCommerce) June 29, 2021
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
“Understanding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic is THE public health question of our time.
“Yes, this is about accountability – we must hold China accountable for its actions.
“This is also about preventing the next pandemic – and stopping all the death and destruction that will come with it.
“To do that, we MUST understand how this one started.
“As the Republican Leader on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I oversee public health.
“Energy and Commerce Republicans take our duty seriously to seek the truth.
“And I can assure you all – we will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of that truth.
“China is refusing to cooperate. This comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Communist Regime.
“But China’s obstruction should not deter our work.
“There is a significant amount of information relevant to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic outside of China.”
“Let’s start with EcoHealth Alliance and its president, Dr. Peter Daszak.
“EcoHealth Alliance has been partnering with China and the Wuhan Institute of Virology for YEARS – and doing so using American funds.
“It is no wonder that Daszak has done everything in his power to shut down any discussion of the lab leak theory.
“In fact, on March 7, 2020, Daszak organized scientists to submit a letter published in The Lancet that called any consideration of the lab a conspiracy theory – which many in the media and Big Tech used to silence debate.
“It also is not surprising that Daszak – who has a significant conflict of interest – was the only American scientist allowed to participate in the World Health Organization investigation into the COVID-19 origins.
“We have asked Daszak to provide information we know he has that sheds light on the origins of this pandemic. But he refuses to cooperate.
“If you have nothing to hide, why won’t you help us?
“Dr. Daszak, you received American funds you used to conduct research on bat coronaviruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. You owe it to the American people to be transparent.”
WE NEED MORE TRANSPARENCY FOR ANSWERS
“Our own government also holds a significant amount of information that will help us put more pieces of this complex puzzle together.
“We have written to the NIH, the State Department, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Department of Homeland Security, the GAO, and the USAID.
“While we are making strides behind-the-scenes, I want to be very clear: I am NOT satisfied with the level of cooperation we are getting.
“This administration MUST be more transparent.
“For weeks, Biden administration officials have been calling on China to be more transparent.
“Well Mr. President, I ask that you hold yourself and your agencies to the same standard: it is time to open up and be transparent.
“You owe it to the American people.
“To every American who lost a loved one to COVID, every nurse and first responder who worked night and day to fight COVID and keep us safe, and every child who has faced a mental health emergency due to school closures and lockdowns.
“They deserve answers.
“Did the NIH fund risky research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology that may have caused this pandemic?
“Did the NIH circumvent our pause on gain of function research by funding that research through EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
“Did the NIH ensure that assessments were conducted to find out if the Wuhan lab had appropriate safety protocols in place to prevent a lab leak?
“Did the NIH adequately account for any national security risks that could arise from funding research through EcoHealth Alliance and the Wuhan Institute of Virology?
“The American people deserve answers to these questions – and we will not rest until we get them.”