WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa,has sounded the alarm for over a year about U.S. tax dollars being funneled into China’s state-run Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). Last week, through an amendment she offered for the Endless Frontier Act, she successfully stopped any additional future U.S. funding from going to China’s state lab. The Endless Frontier Act aims to help the U.S. compete with China in research and development.
Ernst’s amendment comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that three researchers from the lab became sick enough in November of 2019 – something Ernst noted earlier this year – that they went and sought hospital care, raising new questions about the lab.
“Providing additional U.S. funds to subsidize any state-run lab in China—especially the Wuhan Institute of Virology—goes against the very purpose of the underlying bill, which is to support more research in the U.S. to better compete with China. Today the Senate unanimously agreed with me that not another dime of taxpayer dollars should be spent subsidizing this lab in Communist China,” Ernst said.
“We applaud Sen. Ernst for her outstanding work to protect taxpayers and public health by permanently defunding the dangerous Wuhan Institute of Virology. Shipping tax dollars to a notorious CCP-run animal lab that’s supercharging coronaviruses, and where there’s no transparency and accountability about how our money is spent, was a recipe for disaster,” Anthony Bellotti, president of a taxpayer watchdog group White Coat Waste Project, said in a released statement.
Last year, Ernst helped expose $600,000 of U.S. taxpayer money was funneled to Communist China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) by way of a non-profit.
In April 2020, she called on Congressional leadership to ensure no COVID stimulus funds went to WIV after it was exposed that the lab was funded by NIH.
In May 2020, Ernst called to defund the Wuhan Institute and China’s wet markets.
In March 2021, she called on the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General to find out why the agency is refusing to comply with a law and disclose how much taxpayer funding is spent on specific research projects, like those being conducted with the WIV. Ernst also introduced the Cost Openness and Spending Transparency (COST) Act which requires every project – from all federal agencies – supported with federal funds to include a price tag with the cost.
Also in March of this year, Ernst shed “sunlight” on the dangerous Wuhan Institute where she noted, “In the months just prior to the first case of the new pathogen being publicly identified, researchers at this state-run lab reportedly became sick with COVID-like symptoms.”
In April 2021, she penned an op-ed writing in part, “The NIH needs to answer questions about why it allowed funds to go to this lab and what it knew about the reported problems there. It also needs to explain why it broke federal spending transparency law that would have given Congress, and most importantly the American people, a heads up that tax dollars were shipped to a virus lab run by the CCP.”
Ernst has also called for an independent, scientific investigation into the origins of COVID-19.