Republican lawmakers advanced a bill Wednesday that would ban funding of research labs controlled by North Korea, China, and other adversarial nations. Democrats say the move will put America’s national security at risk.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the 2024 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Bill on Wednesday, a $52.5 billion appropriations measure that includes provisions prohibiting funding of any lab controlled by China, Russia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. The bill would also ban taxpayer funding of risky gain-of-function research meant to enhance deadly viruses and prohibit funding of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and EcoHealth Alliance, the two groups implicated in the widely accepted theory that the COVID-19 pandemic originated from a Chinese laboratory.
To Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), these measures unravel “the hard-fought credibility and influence the United States has earned as a global leader,” the lawmakers said in a press release Wednesday. “The bill threatens our national security and puts the American people and global health at risk,” the Democrats added.
DeLauro accused Republicans during a markup hearing Wednesday of catering to the most “extreme” members of their caucus “at the expense of America’s historic position on the world stage.”