House Republicans would set up a committee to investigate how COVID-19 spread from China and focus on military and economic threats posed by Beijing if the GOP wins control in Nov. 8 congressional elections, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.
Such a select committee’s mandate would include looking into accusations of intellectual property theft from U.S. companies and efforts by China to dominate key industries, McCarthy said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
The promise reflects hardening hostility toward China among many Republicans. President Donald Trump came into office pledging to combat China on trade and later blamed China for the spread of Covid, which he often referred to publicly as “the China virus.”
Democrats also have been taking a tougher line on China, with President Joe Biden identifying as a primary national threat the authoritarian challenge to democracy posed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Biden has imposed sanctions on China over its treatment of ethnic minorities including Uyghurs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi infuriated China by visiting Taiwan to show U.S. support for the island, which China claims as its own.
McCarthy identified the virus pandemic as a key objective for the would-be probe.
“More importantly, we want to find where the origins of COVID began, so it never starts again,” he said. “How did that happen?”
Senate Republicans recently released a report saying the pandemic “was most likely the result of” a leak of virus from a research lab in China, a theory Beijing has rejected as a lie.
Most scientists support the conclusion in a Science Magazine paper published in August that the virus jumped from animal to human, likely in the crowded wet markets in Wuhan, China.
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