House Democrats are signaling they will oppose declassifying information on the origin of COVID-19 following recent reports that it likely spread from a Chinese lab leak.
Democratic Caucus Chairman Pete Aguilar (D-CA) deferred on the issue when pressed on his party's response to the issue.
House Dems signal opposition to declassifying info on COVID-19 origins https://t.co/QIhImzL8dF
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 2, 2023
"We believe in letting committees of jurisdiction guide the discussions ahead, working with the administration and asking the administration tough questions," Aguilar said.
"And when we can do that in a way that can be shared with the American public we will, but declassification conversations are best left to the executive," he added.
.@HawleyMO and @SenatorBraun want intelligence related to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic made public.
Their Origin Act of 2023 passed the Senate unanimously.https://t.co/GP8i74J3Yf
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) March 2, 2023
The view stands in contrast with new legislation proposed by Sens. Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Mike Braun (R-IN) called the COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023 which seeks to make as many details public as possible.
"Identifying the origin of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) is critical for preventing a similar pandemic from occurring in the future," the bill reads.
"The Director of National Intelligence should declassify and make available to the public as much information as possible about the origin of COVID–19," it adds.
The Senate unanimously passed the bill, with Hawley celebrating the move in a press release.
"For nearly three years, anyone asking whether COVID-19 originated as a lab leak outbreak was silenced and branded as a conspiracy theorist. Now these prudent skeptics stand vindicated. The Biden administration must immediately declassify all intelligence reports pertaining to the origins of COVID-19 and the Wuhan Institute of Virology. The American people deserve to know the truth," he said in the statement.
The bill now moves to the House where Democrats will be forced to publicly decide whether they will join with the Senate to declassify the information.