Washington: The House voted unanimously Friday to declassify U.S. intelligence information about the origins of COVID-19, a sweeping show of bipartisan support near the third anniversary of the start of the deadly pandemic.
The 419-0 vote was final congressional approval of the bill, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk. It’s unclear whether the president will sign the measure into law, and the White House said the matter was under review.
“I haven’t made that decision yet,” Biden said late Friday when asked whether he would sign the bill.
Debate in the House was brief and to the point: Americans have questions about how the deadly virus started and what can be done to prevent future outbreaks.
“The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
That includes, he said, “how this virus was created and, specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event.”
The order to declassify focused on intelligence related to China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, citing “potential links” between the research that was done there and the outbreak of COVID-19, which the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.