Burgess in the News

Republicans Revive Push to Allow Americans to Sue CCP Over COVID-19

By: Samantha Flom | The Epoch Times

Legislative efforts to enable Americans to sue the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over the COVID-19 pandemic have been renewed on Capitol Hill by Reps. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Michael Burgess (R-Texas).

Under legislation the congressmen introduced on March 10, the Chinese communist regime could be held legally liable for misrepresenting “the seriousness and nature” of the novel coronavirus to the World Health Organization (WHO), resulting in “loss of life, injury, and damage to property and commercial interests” of people around the world.

“Knowing that Xi Jinping and his communist regime systematically failed to be truthful and transparent, our legislation seeks to not only gain access to more information but also provide much-needed relief to the loved ones of those who died and others who have suffered severe economic loss during the pandemic,” said Smith, chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, in a statement.

The bill comes amid increasing calls for government transparency on COVID-19 following reports that both the FBI and the Department of Energy believe the source of the pandemic to have been a lab leak at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology—a theory that was largely discouraged and dismissed by government agencies until recently.

Another supporter of that theory is Dr. Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who told members of Congress on March 8 that he believed U.S. taxpayers had funded the gain-of-function research that created the virus.

“We must finally get to the truth about what happened and who was involved in this deception in order to bring justice to those who suffered profoundly from COVID-19,” Smith said, noting that the legislation would also allow for additional answers to be produced through discovery and testimony in court.

Republican senators launched a similar effort to hold China legally liable for COVID-19 in 2020 by introducing the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act, but that bill was never taken up for a vote.

Burgess, however, said it was time for the CCP to be held accountable.

“The Chinese Communist Party refusal to provide real-time information killed Americans,” he said. “The American people lost loved ones and suffered a multitude of losses during the coronavirus pandemic. They deserve the ability to get answers from the CCP.”

To date, more than 6.8 million people around the world have lost their lives to COVID-19, including nearly 1 million Americans.

In a rare moment of total agreement, both congressional chambers unanimously passed legislation this month requiring the director of national intelligence to declassify information about the origins of the pandemic.

The bill has yet to be signed by President Joe Biden.