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US Lawmakers Propose Bipartisan Probe of COVID Origins, Response

The panel proposed in the bill would be known as the “National Task Force on the Response of the United States to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” and would have the authority to issue subpoenas to compel testimony and the disclosure of records as necessary for the investigation.
US Lawmakers Propose Bipartisan Probe of COVID Origins, Response
Diana Merchant self-tests for COVID-19 at a drive-thru testing site in Whittier, Calif., Jan. 25, 2022.

In the two years since COVID-19 began ravaging the United States, virtually every aspect of the pandemic has been politicized, often to the detriment of efforts to bring the disease under control and to treat its victims. Now, though, members of Congress are taking the first steps toward a bipartisan effort to understand the pandemic’s origins and to assess the federal government’s response.

The two most senior members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions have begun circulating a proposal to create a 12-member commission of private citizens with broad authority to investigate the origins of the disease – and how the Trump and Biden administrations responded to it. The initiative appears to have broad support among members of both parties.

The two lawmakers, Health Committee Chair Patty Murray, a Democrat from Washington, and the committee’s senior Republican, Richard Burr of North Carolina, have modeled the effort on the commission that was created to investigate the origins of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001. That body won bipartisan praise for its exhaustive analysis of the events leading up to the attacks.

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