May 12 2020
New Legislation Would Authorize Sanctions if China Fails to Cooperate in Investigation of Pandemic Outbreak
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., today joined an effort to hold the Chinese government accountable for its role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mississippi Senators are original cosponsors of the COVID-19 Accountability Act, which would authorize the President to impose sanctions on China if it hinders or evades any coronavirus pandemic investigation led by the United States, its allies, or United Nations affiliates.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s continued suppression of the truth amid the coronavirus outbreak cannot go unchecked,” Wicker said. “This legislation would authorize the President to take appropriate actions against the Chinese government to ensure similar outbreaks do not happen in the future.”
“China must be more forthcoming as investigations begin and we endeavor to learn lessons from this disaster. This legislation will demonstrate to the communist regime in Beijing that the world needs answers on how this pandemic started and spread misery across the globe,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation also begins to address our own nation’s need to shore up our strategic national stockpile and to certify the safety of Chinese pharmaceuticals used by the American people.”
The COVID-19 Accountability Act, introduced by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), would require the President to certify that China is cooperating with any COVID-19 investigation led by the United States or its allies, in addition to closing all operating wet markets that pose a public health risk, and releasing pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong who were arrested in the post COVID-19 crackdowns.
If China fails to comply, the legislation would authorize the President to impose immediate sanctions, including asset freezes, travel bans, visa revocations, restrictions on United States financial institutions making loans or underwriting Chinese business, and prohibitions on Chinese firms being listed on American stock exchanges. Penalties would remain in place until the President certifies complete Chinese cooperation.
A one-page summary of the legislation is available here.