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Lankford urges Senate, House Leadership to Stop Taxpayer Funding for China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  Senator James Lankford (R-OK) along with Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and a bicameral coalition of over 50 other lawmakers sent a letter to Senate and House leadership requesting no COVID-19 relief funds be appropriated to China’s notorious state-run bio-agent laboratory, the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Reports indicate that for years WIV has received taxpayer dollars from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for secretive and dangerous laboratory research on coronavirus-infected bats. US State Department officials have even warned that these experiments posed a coronavirus pandemic risk because of sloppy practices at WIV.

Lankford’s letter to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reads, in part:

“We’re sure you agree that taxpayers’ money should not be sent to a dangerous Chinese state-run bio-agent laboratory that lacks any meaningful oversight from US authorities and is run by adversaries with a history of lab leaks, including SARS, and deception about the causes and extent of deadly disease outbreaks, including COVID-19. Although President Trump has stated that his administration “will end that grant quickly,” we hope to ensure that WIV will not receive federal funds in any future spending packages.”

Last Friday President Donald Trump announced his intention to end any NIH grants currently funding WIV. Lankford’s letter builds on this development and seeks to ensure that no tax dollars from any agency end up at WIV through COVID stimulus bills. 

“We applaud Senator Lankford for his outstanding leadership to ensure that American taxpayers are not forced to pay for wasteful and treacherous coronavirus animal experiments at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology,” said Justin Goodman, Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy at 2-million-member taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project.

Read the full letter here and below. 

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McCarthy: 

Thank you for your leadership to confront the threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic. We are writing to urge you to ensure that no stimulus funding is sent—directly or indirectly—to China’s controversial bio-agent laboratory the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). 

We were troubled by recent media reports that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been funding secretive and dangerous laboratory research at the WIV for many years.  According to the NIH’s website, the WIV is currently authorized by the NIH to receive taxpayer funding for animal research (Assurance ID# F16-00279).

You may be aware that the WIV is the only facility in China designated as a Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory, meaning that it handles extremely deadly pathogens and biological agents. According to peer-reviewed research publications, the NIH has funded research at the WIV in recent years that involves capturing and handling coronavirus-infected bats from the same caves COVID-19 is believed to have originated from. In some cases, infected bats were killed and transported to the WIV for lab experiments. The research studies state they were funded by an active NIH grant that has received $3.7 million in taxpayers’ money to date.

To make matters worse, a highly disturbing new report indicates U.S. State Department cables from 2018 warned of “a SARS-like pandemic” risk related to the WIV’s treacherous and sloppy coronavirus research on bats.

We’re sure you agree that taxpayers’ money should not be sent to a dangerous Chinese state-run bio-agent laboratory that lacks any meaningful oversight from U.S. authorities and is run by adversaries with a history of lab leaks, including SARS, and deception about the causes and extent of deadly disease outbreaks, including COVID-19. Although President Trump has stated that his administration “will end that grant quickly,” we hope to ensure that WIV will not receive federal funds in any future spending packages.

Thank you for your efforts and assistance in this matter. We look forward to working with you to ensure stimulus funds intended to help American taxpayers and businesses recover from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are not misspent.

Sincerely, 

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