January 25, 2023

Reschenthaler Introduces Bill to Defund EcoHealth Alliance

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced H.R. 494, the Defund EcoHealth Alliance Act, which prohibits EcoHealth Alliance (EcoHealth) from receiving federal funding. EcoHealth is a New York City non-profit with extensive ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) and has funneled millions in grant funding to the Chinese Communist Party laboratory. 
This legislation is being introduced as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) released its report this week entitled, “The National Institutes of Health and EcoHealth Alliance Did Not Effectively Monitor Awards and Subwards, Resulting in Missed Opportunities to Oversee Research and Other Deficiencies.” The HHS OIG detailed vast reporting violations and improper procedures conducted by EcoHealth and the NIH. EcoHealth’s failure to not always use its grant funds in accordance with federal requirements also resulted in $89,171 in unallowable costs for bonuses and salary increases. 
“It is unconscionable that EcoHealth Alliance repeatedly funneled American taxpayer dollars to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab controlled by the Chinese Communist Party that conducts dangerous and potentially deadly research,” said Reschenthaler. “As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is tasked with ensuring our nation’s fiscal responsibility, I urge my colleagues to support this bill banning funding from this negligent organization. Congress must ensure Americans are never footing the bill for risky experiments in foreign labs run by our adversaries.” 
EcoHealth has a troubling record of failing to report findings from federally funded research. The non-profit has refused to cooperate with congressional oversight of federal funding awarded to the organization, and its collaborations with the WIV—the likely origin site of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
Reschenthaler and Ernst also introduced the Defund EcoHealth Alliance Act in the 117th Congress. The full text of the bill can be viewed here
Background on EcoHealth & WIV: 
The WIV is a Chinese Communist Party high-containment laboratory and the likely origin of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the State Department, the WIV has conducted classified research on behalf of the Chinese military. 
Since 2004, EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, have collaborated with the WIV. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Daszak withheld critical information and pushed false narratives to hide the true origins of the pandemic. 
In 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development acknowledged that EcoHealth provided $1.1 million to the WIV from October 2009 to May 2019. This funding utilized gain-of-function 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. Additionally, between 2015 and 2019, the WIV received approximately $598,500 from EcoHealth for a National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases study on the risk of bat coronavirus emergence.