WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced 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.
“It is good to be back in the Senate today introducing our Stop COVID Act. The Chinese 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 30 million American jobs lost, and over 68,000 deaths in the United States 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.”
Last month, Senators Blackburn and McSally announced their intent to introduce the Stop COVID Act when the Senate came back into session. Senator Daines has since joined the effort as a cosponsor.
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.
Last month, Senator Blackburn and Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05), who is leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives, 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.