Collins Introduces Legislation to Hold China Accountable for Global Pandemic

May 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON — Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) today introduced the COVID-19 Accountability Act to hold China accountable for creating a global pandemic by giving the President the authority to impose sanctions on China if they fail to cooperate with a full investigation into the events leading up to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“While the Chinese Communist regime has inflicted harm on the U.S. for decades, the coronavirus outbreak has shined a light on the urgent need to change course,” said Collins. “The Chinese Communist regime’s coverup of the coronavirus outbreak cost hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide and caused unfathomable harm to the global economy, and they must be held accountable. By giving the President the authority to impose a wide range of sanctions on Chinese officials, the COVID-19 Accountability Act will guarantee China is held fully accountable for the worldwide devastation they’ve caused and will ensure the American people get the answers they deserve.”

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced companion legislation in the Senate yesterday. 

“I’m convinced that without Chinese Communist Party deception the virus would not be here in the United States,” Graham said. “China refuses to allow the international community to go into the Wuhan lab to investigate. They refuse to allow investigators to study how this outbreak started. I’m convinced China will never cooperate with a serious investigation unless they are made to do so. This hard-hitting piece of legislation will sanction China until they cooperate with investigators. We must determine how the virus came about and take steps, like closing the wet markets, to ensure it never happens again. It’s time we push back against China and hold them accountable. More than eighty thousand Americans are dead and millions more are jobless today because of China’s failure to contain and prevent the spread of the virus.”

Under the COVID-19 Accountability Act, the President would be required to make a certification to Congress within sixty days that China has:

  • Provided a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19 investigation led by the United States, its allies, or United Nations affiliates, such as the World Health Organization (WHO);
  • Closed all wet markets that have the potential to expose humans to health risks; and
  • Released all pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong that were arrested in the post COVID-19 crackdowns.

The President would also be given the authority to impose a range of sanctions to hold China accountable, including asset freezes, travel bans, visa revocations, restricting U.S. financial institutions from making loans to Chinese businesses, and prohibiting Chinese firms from being listed on American stock exchanges.

This bill also requires the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to investigate the Chinese pharmaceutical industry, expands the research and development tax credit to incentivize innovation and commercial development of goods in the United States, and calls upon the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain Taiwan observer status at the World Health Organization. 

Original cosponsors of this legislation include Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Mark Walker (R-NC), Greg Steube (R-FL), Austin Scott (R-GA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Michael Waltz (R-FL), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Michael Guest (R-MS), William Timmons (R-SC), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Clay Higgins (R-LA), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), John Rutherford (R-FL), Dan Bishop (R-NC) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).