Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, this week reported in a news release that she successfully included two of her amendments in the Labor, Health, and Human Services (LHHS) Appropriations bill to investigate withdrawn COVID-19 data by China and to withhold taxpayer dollars from funding the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“We owe it to the more than 600,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19 and their loved ones — not to mention the small businesses and communities who were decimated — to investigate and hold China accountable for its role in the catastrophic spread of the virus,” she said in the release. “I’m encouraged that we’re a step closer to such accountability with the provisions I successfully inserted into the LHHS bill that will keep U.S. tax dollars from going to the Wuhan lab and investigate why — at the direction of a Chinese researcher — critical COVID gene sequences were deleted from the National Institutes of Health. Our ultimate goal with these measures is to ensure the Chinese Communist Party is not allowed to repeat the missteps and potential cover-ups that contributed to this global pandemic.”.
The congresswoman said that a recent report showed early COVID-19 gene sequences were withdrawn from the Sequence Read Archive at the National Institutes of Health after a researcher in China requested their withdrawal. The samples withdrawn included those collected from Wuhan in January and February of 2020 during the early stages of the COVID outbreak, she said.
Herrera Beutler’s amendment directs the NIH to find out the total number of requests withdrawn among other information.