Sens. Marshall, Feinstein, Gillibrand, Ernst Bill Creates 9/11-Style COVID-19 Commission
(Washington, D.C., November 9, 2021) – U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) recently introduced legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak and identify lessons learned regarding U.S. preparedness, response and recovery to improve our ability to respond to future outbreaks. More information on the commission is below these statements from the Senators:
“Americans are long-overdue for a bipartisan commission investigating the origins of COVID-19, as well as finding out how we can prepare for, prevent, and recover from future global pandemics. As a physician, I think we always need to know the what, where, how, and why when giving a diagnosis. For this reason, it couldn’t be more important that we determine the origins of this infectious disease outbreak in order to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” said Senator Marshall. “For the sake of global health, I am relieved to see a bipartisan commission on the COVID-19 Pandemic coming to fruition. This comprehensive investigation is essential to addressing our vulnerabilities and preventing future crises.”
Senator Marshall was recently on FOX News to discuss the bipartisan COVID Commission. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the story.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 750,000 American lives and severely impacted millions more. As the threat of major pandemics increases due to globalization and climate change, we must learn from what happened during this pandemic to ensure we’re prepared for any future outbreaks,” said Senator Feinstein. “This bipartisan commission will ensure we learn all we can from the past 18 months so the immense human suffering and economic devastation we’ve endured never happens again.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our society, economy and public health systems, and we must do everything in our power to prevent and prepare for future public health emergencies. We simply cannot wait for the next crisis to hit – we must create a 9/11-style COVID-19 commission to prepare a comprehensive health and national security strategy to protect and equip the United States in the event of another devastating emergency,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Just as we established an independent commission in the aftermath of 9/11, this COVID-19 commission is the best way to strengthen our nation’s emergency response preparedness and build resiliency against any future pandemic or public health crises.”
“The COVID-19 outbreak that emerged in Wuhan, China nearly two years ago put the world into an unprecedented global lockdown, and to this day, the origins of the pandemic remain a mystery as China refuses to fully cooperate with international fact-finding efforts,” said Senator Ernst. “The American people and the world deserve answers, which is why I’m proud to join my colleagues across the aisle to create a bipartisan commission to get to the bottom of the pandemic once and for all—and ensure it never happens again.”
The bill is also endorsed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Full text of the legislation is available HERE.
The National Commission on the COVID–19 Pandemic would conduct an investigation on the COVID-19 outbreak and identify lessons learned regarding preparedness, response and recovery. The structure and authorities of the Commission are modeled on the 9/11 Commission.
The investigation will address:
- U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic,
- the effectiveness of COVID-19 public health messaging,
- international cooperation in responding to and investigating COVID-19,
- the availability of medical supplies and personal protective equipment,
- the federal government’s role in the development, testing, production, and distribution of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines,
- the preparedness and capacity of the U.S. health care system,
- language variations regarding novel diseases and how that relates to stigma, discrimination, and harassment for certain communities,
- the origins of COVID-19, and
- any other subject the Commission determines relevant in developing recommendations to prepare for future pandemics.
Composition: The Commission will be composed of 10 members (5 members appointed from each political party).
Reporting: The Commission will submit to the President and Congress, and make publicly available, an interim report not later than 1 year after the date of the bill’s enactment and a final report not later than 20 months after the initial meeting of the Commission.
Powers: The Commission has authority to hold hearings, take testimony, administer oaths, and issue subpoenas.
Declassification of Evidence: This bill also commences a declassification review of information related to the origin of COVID–19 that the Commission requires.
Senator Marshall has been leading the fight in the Senate to get to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19. In fact, recently, he partnered with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to hold the first joint bipartisan Senate briefing on the origins of COVID-19 following the passage of their bipartisan resolution that calls for a transparent investigation into the outbreak of the virus. The bipartisan resolution also demands a full, transparent investigation to include the U.S. and its allies and partners around the world if China continues on its path of cover-up and obfuscation.
Unfortunately, certain federal agencies have refused to cooperate fully on investigating the origins of COVID-19. Last month, Senator Marshall – along with Senators Chuck Grassley (IA) and Marsha Blackburn (TN) – sent a follow-up letter demanding answers to questions that may shed light on the origins of COVID-19. Specifically, the Senators requested answers regarding NIH’s data retention policies for the Sequence Read Archive, the largest public database for DNA sequencing data. NIH had deleted coronavirus gene sequences data from the database at the request of researchers from Wuhan University. NIH inadequately addressed previous congressional oversight inquiries dating back to June. The exchange between the Senators and NIH was reported on by the Wall Street Journal.
In May, Senator Marshall – along with Senators Rand Paul (KY), Ron Johnson (WI), James Lankford (OK), Rick Scott (FL), Tom Cotton (AR), and Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI) led a letter highlighting a response to the World Health Organization’s study of SARS-CoV-2’s origins from a group of eighteen scientists stating that the leak of the virus from a lab is a “viable” theory and should be thoroughly investigated. The letter touched on several high profile biosafety incidents at the labs and GoF research studies that led to a 2014 HHS and NIH pause on funding research for gain of function experiments “involving influenza, SARS, and MERS viruses.” This pause did not halt ongoing research being conducted or research that received an exception from the head of the USG funding agency.
Senator Marshall released a multi-step path forward on getting to the bottom of the origins of COVID-19 and holding China accountable for its actions surrounding the earliest days of the outbreak. While Senator Marshall’s 8-point path forward is below, you may click HERE for a more detailed version.
- President Biden and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines Must Release all Classified Information Going Back to at Least September 2019.
- Investigate the Viral DNA Sequencing Map, including the release of the China WIV data stored at the NIH National library of Medicine as well as all genomes used by the NIH-funded Ecohealth Alliance
- Hold all Nominees for Agencies and Departments that have failed to Provide Grant Application Information for Funds Given to EcoHealth Alliance.
- Enhance Congressional Oversight and Bipartisan Investigations
- Immediate Moratorium of Gain-of-Function and Other Potentially Pandemic Pathogens Research
- In October, Senator Marshall introduced the Viral Gain of Function Research Moratorium Act to place a moratorium on all federal research grants to universities and other organizations conducting gain-of-function research and risky research on potential pandemic pathogens. This legislation is in response to the congressional inquiries and various media investigations revealing national security issues including federal agencies authorizing dangerous research with certain foreign entities that may have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Impose Sanctions and Immigration Restraints on China
- In October, Senator Marshall introduced the Chinese Communist Party Accountability Act to place sanctions on the top two Chinese health officials with early ties to the COVID-19 outbreak who obfuscated actionable information. The sanctions would remain in place until they allow an independent, unimpeded investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology as a potential origin for the COVID-19 virus. This legislation also holds the Chinese Communist Party accountable for the disappearance of whistleblowers and citizen journalists, as well as limiting freedom of speech and information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic in the People’s Republic of China.
- Fully Integrate National Security Agencies and the Department of Health and Human Services
- Pursue a New Global Health Treaty
In August, Senator Marshall released a video walking viewers through a 3D timeline of the origins of COVID-19. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the video.
You may click HERE or on the image below to view Senator Marshall’s COVID-19 origins timeline as an image.
In June, Senator Marshall wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) demanding answers on possible COVID-19 infections of U.S. Army troops who participated in the 2019 World Military Games that took place in Wuhan, China from October 18-28, 2019. Following completion of the games, athletes from numerous participating countries reported experiencing symptoms similar to those associated with COVID-19.
Senator Marshall has penned several op-eds on COVID origins. You may click on the links below to view them:
- FOX News – April 7, 2020: China’s coronavirus reckoning – act now to end US dependency for drugs, medical supplies
- FOX News – May 22, 2020: WHO desperately needs reform – here’s how to protect global health now
- Washington Times – March 2, 2021: WHO must actually demonstrate independence from China
- FOX News – May 13, 2021:The COVID-19 mystery – we’ve lost 3 million lives and critical questions need answers
In January 2020, then Congressman Marshall was the first member of Congress to sound the alarm on the House floor about the spread of COVID-19. As a physician, he would later go on to serve on the frontlines as a volunteer treating patients in Wyandotte County and Seward County.
- Few heroes to be found in Washington amid coronavirus finger-pointing (Washington Times)…Rep. Roger Marshall, Kansas Republican and a medical doctor, five days later became the first to broach the virus on the House floor. He thought the information he heard coming out of China sounded fishy, and he wanted to sound the alarm…