The Senate chamber erupted in cheers Tuesday after unanimously passing an amendment introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) to ban U.S. taxpayer funding for gain-of-function research in China.
Senate Amendment 2003, which was added to the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, bans the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and any other U.S. agency from funding any Chinese gain-of-function research, which is a form of study that attempts to render pathogens more infectious and lethal. Paul’s amendment joined another introduced by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) that permanently prohibits U.S. funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
“We may never know whether the pandemic arose from the lab in Wuhan, but we do know that so far no intermediate animal host has been discovered,” Paul said in a speech on the Senate floor. “Thousands of animals at the wet market have been looked at, none of them have carried COVID-19. We’ve tried to infect COVID-19 into bats, it doesn’t grow well in bats. It seems most adapted and suitable for humans.”
“We may not know whether this rose out of a Wuhan lab, but I think gain-of-function research — where we take a deadly virus, sometimes much more deadly than COVID, and then we increase its transmissibility to mammals — is wrong. In 2014, NIH stopped all of this research. I’m using the same definition to say any gain-of-function research should not be funded in China with U.S. taxpayer dollars, and I recommend a yes vote,” Paul added.
Paul’s amendment passed unanimously by a voice vote, after which some in the Senate chamber cheered.
SENATE: The Senate chamber erupts into cheers after an amendment proposed by @RandPaul that bans US funding of gain-of-function research in China is passed by unanimous voice vote pic.twitter.com/8fQ6hAWpuW
— Forbes (@Forbes) May 25, 2021
Paul has been among the most vocal lawmakers questioning the received wisdom of medical experts throughout the pandemic, pushing back especially against some of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s assertions.
Most recently, Paul grilled Fauci about grant money from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) that allegedly went to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab from which some believe the COVID-19 virus might have leaked.
“We don’t know whether the pandemic started in a lab in Wuhan or evolved naturally,” Paul said in a press release. “While many still deny funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan, experts believe otherwise. The passage of my amendment ensures that this never happens in the future. No taxpayer money should have ever been used to fund gain-of-function research in Wuhan, and now we permanently have put it to a stop.”
“Shipping tax dollars to animal labs in China to supercharge coronaviruses and other pathogens, where there’s no transparency and accountability about how our money is spent, is a recipe for disaster,” Anthony Bellotti, president of taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, said in a statement provided to The Daily Wire.
“Having first exposed secretive U.S. taxpayer funding for the Wuhan animal lab last year, we applaud Sens. Ernst, Paul, Marshall and Johnson for their outstanding work to protect taxpayers and public health by permanently defunding this dangerous CCP-run facility and any gain-of-function experiments anywhere in China. Taxpayers should not be forced to bankroll bat experiments or any other reckless spending in foreign labs and recent polls show that a majority of Democrat and Republican voters agree.”
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