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China Cost U.S. $18 Trillion Through Lack of Transparency on COVID-19: Nonpartisan Commission

Report by commission convened by Heritage Foundation, including Republican and Democratic heavy-hitters, proposes revisions to Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act to allow lawsuits by U.S. victims of China’s decisions.

Congress should change a law that insulates foreign governments from lawsuits in the U.S. so that China can be sued for damages for its lack of transparency around COVID-19 going back to hiding SARS-CoV-2's emergence from the world, according to a report released Monday.

The Heritage Foundation convened the Nonpartisan Commission on China and COVID-19, chaired by former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and including officials from the Trump, George W. Bush and Clinton administrations, as well as former Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

The report claims COVID-19 cost the U.S. $18 trillion from deaths, chronic conditions, lost income, mental health and educational losses, for which China is responsible. This represents "roughly 13 percent of U.S. wealth" using the Federal Reserve's estimated net value of U.S. wealth in 2022, the report says.

The commission calls for "narrow, tailored, and appropriate" revisions to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act, which insulates foreign governments from U.S. lawsuits with certain exceptions, to hold foreign countries responsible for "reckless action or omission" that caused or "substantially aggravated" pandemics that caused more than a million deaths in the U.S.

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