House Appropriations Votes to include Reschenthaler Amendment Prohibiting Funds to the Wuhan Institute of Virology

July 1, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Today, the House Appropriations Committee voted to include Congressman Guy Reschenthaler’s (PA-14) amendment to prohibit federal funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), the likely origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, during consideration of the Fiscal Year 2022 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Bill. 

 

“It is deeply disturbing that American taxpayers footed the bill for over $1 million to support dangerous and potentially deadly research at the WIV, a laboratory run by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and tied to military biological research,” said Reschenthaler. “I thank my colleagues for including my amendment to end the flow of federal dollars to the WIV. We must ensure Americans’ hard-earned money never again funds risky experiments in labs operated by our adversaries.”

 

Congressman Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14) recently uncovered $1.1 million in Obama-era taxpayer funding funneled to the WIV through the EcoHealth Alliance, a New York based non-profit. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded this funding, which was used for a study that utilized gain-of-function (GOF) research to create a hybrid, man-made virus by inserting a spiked protein from a wild coronavirus into a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV backbone, which could infect human airways by binding to the ACE2. According to recent testimony from House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul, the WIV is the likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 

The WIV also received nearly $600,000 of funding from EcoHealth Alliance through grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Further, according to a New York Magazine article, U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency grants awarded to EcoHealth Alliance funded some of the WIV research.

 

In February 2021, Congressman Reschenthaler introduced H.R. 591, the Defund EcoHealth Alliance Act, which prohibits federal funding to the EcoHealth Alliance.

 

Background on USAID funding to the WIV Funding:

  • Between October 2009 and May 2019, USAID provided a total of $1.1 million to the EcoHealth Alliance for a sub-agreement with the WIV.
  • The funding went toward advancing research on viruses that could pose harm to human and animal health.
  • According to USAID, they never authorized this funding for GOF research at WIV.
  • In October of 2014, the Obama Administration paused GOF research activities and funding, and this research team received a letter requesting a voluntary pause of its research.
  • In 2019, the Trump Administration stopped USAID’s work on this project.

 

Background on EcoHealth Alliance:

  • According to federal government data, EcoHealth received tens of millions in federal research dollars.
  • EcoHealth has partnered with the WIV since 2004.
  • In February 2020, EcoHealth President Peter Daszak led an unsubstantiated letter denying the possibility of COVID-19 originating in a lab.
  • Daszak went so far as to condemn any alternative explanation to his natural origins narrative, such as a lab accident at nearby WIV, as “conspiracy theory.”

 

Background on WIV:

  • The CCP directly runs the WIV and manages the Biosafety Level IV (BSL-4) laboratory.
  • After the outbreak of COVID-19, the CCP replaced the party official in charge of the WIV with a top biowarfare expert, Major General Chen Wei.
  • In 2018, two State Department cables raised concerns regarding safety and management weaknesses at the WIV.
  • Scientists at the WIV noted “a serious shortage of appropriately trained technicians and investigators needed to safely operate this high-containment laboratory.”
  • According to a January 15, 2021 State Department press release, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced several researchers inside the WIV became sick with COVID-19 like symptoms in the fall of 2019.
  • Since at least 2017, the WIV engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments with the Chinese military.

 

###