Wicker, Colleagues Renew Effort to Halt Federal Funding for Gain-of-Function Projects

Senators Reintroduce Viral Gain-of-Function Moratorium Act

January 27, 2023

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., joined U.S. Senator Roger Marshall and eight of his Republican colleagues in reintroducing the Viral Gain-of-Function Moratorium Act. The legislation would place a moratorium on all federal research grants involving risky gain-of-function research on potential pandemic pathogens. A new report from a federal watchdog agency concluded that the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) failed to meet key elements of its mandated oversight program responsibility.

“Taxpayers should not have to finance research that could lead to another disastrous pandemic,” Wicker said. “It is clear there has been a failure of oversight, and it would be irresponsible to let this work move forward.”

“For the past few years, a select group of individuals at NIH and other federal agencies have undermined congressional oversight instead of being transparent or accountable to the American people,” Marshall said. “This has hampered our ability to get to the bottom of the COVID-19 outbreak and gain a full understanding of how much taxpayers are subsidizing these dangerous activities. This new GAO report further bolsters the need to address NIH’s failure in executing its oversight responsibilities of federally-funded research. Until the oversight process is reformed and adequate guidelines are in place to protect all of us from dangerous outbreaks, we must not allow any this research to continue.”

In addition to Wicker and Marshall, cosponsors include U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, James Lankford, R-Okla., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.

The full text of the legislation can be found here.