U.S. House members will introduce two bipartisan bills Friday that address the origins of the coronavirus pandemic and would allow victims’ families to sue China.
The first bill, the “Made in America Emergency Preparedness Act,” would establish a 9/11-style bipartisan commission to investigate how the pandemic started. It is being introduced by five Democrats and five Republicans.
The second bill, dubbed the “Never Again International Outbreak Prevention Act,” calls for allowing families of coronavirus victims to sue China by stripping sovereign immunity from it and any other countries “that have intentionally misled the international community on the outbreak.” It will be introduced by U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Conor Lamb, D-Pa.
“In response to this current crisis, we must never again find ourselves caught off-guard, unable to protect our communities,” a press release announcing the first bill says. “We should never again see nearly 600,000 American lives lost at risk and day to day life turned upside down.”
Along with investigating the origin of the virus, the panel proposed by the first bill would also look into the response by the U.S. government and the private sector and determine precautionary steps to take for the future.
The commission would recommend to President Biden what personal protective equipment and other goods would be necessary to address a national emergency, requiring the items to be manufactured in the U.S.
“We simply cannot outsource our public safety and national security to foreign nations,” Fitzpatrick, co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, said in a statement. “We must reconstitute our health care and public safety supply chain back to the United States. Medical products, protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, emergency response equipment and all other critical items and materials needed to respond to a national emergency must be produced domestically for domestic consumption, especially during a critical, time-sensitive crisis.”