House Passes COVID-19 Origins Declassification Bill in Unanimous Vote

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill that requires the director of national intelligence (DNI) to declassify information related to the origins of COVID-19, according to a report from The Hill.

The COVID-19 Origin Act, which passed in a 419-0 vote, was introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Select Committee on China.

The Senate had already approved the bill by unanimous consent, sending the legislation to President Biden’s desk for final approval.

The bill specifically directs the DNI to “declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin” of COVID-19.

This includes “activities performed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology with or on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army” and “coronavirus research or other related activities performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.”

Moreover, the legislation would require the DNI to declassify information on the researchers working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who became ill in autumn of 2019.

All of this information would then be submitted to Congress in an unclassified report, with the DNI making any redactions necessary.

The push to declassify intelligence related to the origins of COVID-19 came shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Energy Department had determined, with “low confidence,” that coronavirus most likely originated from a laboratory in China.

The determination was a change from the department’s previous undecided stance on COVID’s origins.

The classified report, according to the newspaper, was recently sent to the White House and some congressional lawmakers.

The White House has not indicated whether Biden will sign the measure.

When asked about the president’s decision on the bill, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre referred reporters to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

The unanimous passage of the bill in both the House and Senate is a rare display of bipartisanship in a politically divided climate.