The House voted 419-0 in favor of the bipartisan measure, according to Axios. The Senate voted unanimously last week to approve a similar measure. The bill would require the declassification and release of all intelligence related to the origins of COVID and the virus’ possible connections to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) within 90 days of receiving the president’s signature.
The Department of Energy and FBI both delivered assessments recently that concluded that COVID most likely originated in a leak from the Wuhan lab. The theory, known as the lab leak hypothesis and pursued by Republicans, was dismissed as a conspiracy theory early on in the pandemic by top medical and science officials, including former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci.
Investigations into the origin of COVID have been hampered by China, which has rebuffed requests for information and access for investigators. Beijing has floated that COVID did not originate in Wuhan at all, and instead is a creation of the U.S. military.
Many Republicans have continued to push the lab leak theory as the most likely origin of the pandemic virus that killed millions globally.
“The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how this virus was created and specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence of was the result of a lab-related event,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), chairman of the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, according to Fox News.
“The House intelligence committee, which oversees our intelligence community, is aware of classified information that could help inform the public why COVID-19 as a lab leak theory is not just a possibility, but approaches the idea that it is likely,” he continued.
The Department of Energy, with its network of national laboratories and specialists in biological weapons, is the latest member of the U.S. Intelligence Community to determine that the likeliest origin of COVID is a lab-related incident. Last month, the department reportedly shifted its conclusion from undecided to “low confidence” in the lab leak hypothesis with new information, though it is unclear what that new information is.
The FBI assessed in 2021 that the lab leak theory is most likely the correct theory with “moderate confidence.”
The National Intelligence Council and four agencies have ruled against the lab leak theory in favor of the natural emergence hypothesis that says COVID originated in an animal species and somehow made its way into humanity.