Washington Watch

U.S. House, Senate vote to declassify docs on COVID-19 origins

Senate gives unanimous consent; Michigan House delegation opposes in party-line vote

By unanimous consent, the U.S. Senate on March 1 voted yes on the “Origins of COVID-19 Act of 2023.”

The bill was submitted by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri. Because the four-page bill was approved with unanimous consent, no roll-call vote was taken. That means Michigan senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow agreed to it.

Read it for yourself: The Origins of COVID-19 Act of 2023

If passed into law, the bill would “require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID–19, and for other purposes.”

According to the bill Peters and Stabenow consented to:

It is the sense of Congress that ... there is reason to believe the COVID-19 pandemic may have originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

On Wednesday, the House approved House Resolution 199, offered by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kentucky. Among the measures in the bill is a requirement that the director of national intelligence declassify information related to the origins of COVID.

Read it yourself: House Resolution 199 of 2023

House Resolution 199 passed 216-206, with 12 representatives not voting. The six-page House bill does not mention the lab.

Every member of Congress from Michigan voted, and the delegation broke along party lines.

Voting yes, and in favor of declassifying the origins of COVID-19, were Republicans Jack Bergman, Bill Huizenga, John James, Lisa McClain, John Moolenaar and Tim Walberg.

Voting no, and against declassifying the origins of COVID-19, were Democrats Debbie Dingell, Dan Kildee, Hillary Scholten, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens, Shri Thanedar and Rashida Tlaib.

Having passed in both the House and Senate, the bills would need to be made identical in conference committee. Then they would need to pass again and be signed by President Joe Biden in order to become law.

As of March 9, the 118th Congress has yet to pass its first law.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.