(LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted unanimously to pass a bill that would compel the Biden administration to declassify all documents related to the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak. The measure now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature.
According to Axios, the House passed the bill in a sweeping bipartisan 419-0 vote. The U.S. Senate approved its version of the measure, U.S. Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri’s “COVID-19 Origin Act of 2023,” in a unanimous vote last week. At the time, Bloomberg Law suggested that the legislative proposal “could put pressure on the Biden administration to voluntarily declassify.”
If approved, the measure will require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify all documents pertaining to the origins of the COVID-19 virus, redacting only those portions of the materials necessary to protect sources and methods.
Axios reported the bill is likely to become law, since Biden hasn’t suggested he would veto it.
The bicameral moves to declassify the documents and more thoroughly investigate the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak come after news broke late last month that the U.S. Department of Energy concluded the outbreak “most likely” originated from a Chinese lab leak.
The conclusion was reached with “low confidence” in a “classified intelligence report.” The FBI also believes that the virus likely escaped from a Chinese laboratory.
Evidence also suggests that the U.S. government itself had been funding virus research at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, the institute where many believe the virus escaped.
U.S. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has forcefully argued that prominent figures within the U.S. health establishment, primarily former National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci and former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins, have been involved in a “cover up” of the U.S. government’s involvement in financing risky virus research in China.
“I think it’s the biggest cover up, probably, in the history of science,” Sen. Paul argued late last year. “And we will get to the bottom of this.”
It remains to be seen how much information lawmakers will receive if and when the measure to declassify the COVID origin documents takes effect.
Axios noted that while the Director of National Intelligence would need to redact only those aspects of the documents deemed necessary to keep hidden, “that could be interpreted liberally.”
On Friday, Sen. Hawley stated that his office had been contacted by officials with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) asking him to “renounce” the measure to declassify COVID origins.
“The bill will soon be law – unless you can convince President Biden to veto it,” Hawley wrote in a letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Time is up. Come clean about your role in spreading COVID to the world.”