Blackburn & McSally to Introduce the Stop COVID Act to Hold China Accountable for the Spread of the Coronavirus

April 20, 2020

NASHVILLE, TENN. – Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) will introduce the Stop China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases (COVID) Act to ensure the Chinese Communist Party faces consequences for its role in spreading the coronavirus. The Stop COVID Act will empower Americans to sue China in U.S. court and seek compensation for the devastating harm the deadly virus has caused to the economy and human life.  

“China’s Communist Party must face consequences for its role in the origin and spread of the coronavirus,” said Senator Blackburn. “The costs are devastating: trillions of dollars in economic damage, more than 22 million American jobs lost, and over 150,000 deaths worldwide and counting. Business owners and families who have lost loved ones deserve justice. Under this legislation, Americans will have the opportunity to take China to court in the U.S. and demand accountability for their lies and deceit.”

“The Chinese government must be held accountable for the pain it’s inflicted across the United States,” Senator McSally said. “Our legislation to allow Americans to file lawsuits against the Chinese Communist Party for its role in perpetuating the global spread of the coronavirus will give the U.S. a piece of justice.”

Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05) is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Right now, the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is a shield for the Chinese Communist Party to hide behind. We need to change that,” said Rep. Gooden. “The leadership of Senators Blackburn and McSally will be invaluable in our effort to do just that.”

The Stop COVID Act will make China legally and financially liable for unleashing the COVID-19 infection on our country. Americans will have the legal tools to sue China in the U.S. federal court system for creating and worsening this worldwide pandemic. The legislation builds on existing law in the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and eliminates sovereign immunity for states that spread biological agents. As the coronavirus death toll and financial losses mount, China should be forced to pay the costs of these damages to the American people.

Today, Senator Blackburn and Rep. Gooden wrote an op-ed in the Washington Examiner on the importance of passing the Stop COVID Act. It reads, in part:

The Chinese Communist Party has repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to lie to the world about this deadly and costly outbreak… We cannot rely on the Chinese government to be honest, which means we cannot afford to accept the narrative the CCP wants us to believe. The mainstream media has supported the CCP’s arguments so long as they have differed from those made by President Trump. The only path forward is to enable an independent investigation of the facts.

How we choose to treat the Chinese government in the wake of this crisis will define foreign relations in the post-coronavirus era. If we grow to understand how the COVID-19 crisis escalated from a regional outbreak into a global tragedy, we may be able to prevent the disastrous consequences of future pandemics. By unleashing the investigatory power of our legal system, we can discover the truth, prepare for the future, and ensure the American people get the answers they deserve.

The bill text for the Stop COVID Act may be found here.