Bipartisan bill to create 9/11-style COVID-19 Commission introduced by Sen. Marshall

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Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 5:05 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A bipartisan bill to create a 9/11-style COVID-19 Commission has been introduced by Senator Roger Marshall, which would help uncover the origins of the pandemic.

U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he joined Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cali.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) to introduce legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the COVID-19 outbreak and find lessons learned about U.S. preparedness, response and recovery to improve the nation’s ability to respond to future outbreaks.

“Americans are long overdue for a bipartisan commission investigating the origins of COVID-19, as well as finding out how we can prepare for, prevent, and recover from future global pandemics. As a physician, I think we always need to know the what, where, how, and why when giving a diagnosis. For this reason, it couldn’t be more important that we determine the origins of this infectious disease outbreak in order to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” said Sen. Marshall. “For the sake of global health, I am relieved to see a bipartisan commission on the COVID-19 Pandemic coming to fruition. This comprehensive investigation is essential to addressing our vulnerabilities and preventing future crises.”

Marshall said the bill has been endorsed by the Infectious Disease Society of America.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 750,000 American lives and severely impacted millions more. As the threat of major pandemics increases due to globalization and climate change, we must learn from what happened during this pandemic to ensure we’re prepared for any future outbreaks,” said Feinstein. “This bipartisan commission will ensure we learn all we can from the past 18 months so the immense human suffering and economic devastation we’ve endured never happens again.”

Marshall said the legislation would create the National Commission on the COVID-19 Pandemic and require it to conduct an investigation into the outbreak of COVID-19, preparedness, response and recovery, which include the following:

  • U.S. government response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Effectiveness of COVID-19 public health messaging
  • International cooperation in responding to and investigating COVID-19
  • Availability of medical supplies and personal protective equipment
  • Federal government’s role in the development, testing, production and distribution of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines
  • Preparedness and capacity of the U.S. health care system
  • Language variations regarding novel diseases and how that relates to stigma, discrimination and harassment for certain communities
  • Origins of COVID-19
  • Any other subject the Commission decides is relevant in developing recommendations to prepare for future pandemics

“The COVID-19 pandemic has altered our society, economy and public health systems, and we must do everything in our power to prevent and prepare for future public health emergencies. We simply cannot wait for the next crisis to hit – we must create a 9/11-style COVID-19 commission to prepare comprehensive health and national security strategy to protect and equip the United States in the event of another devastating emergency,” said Gillibrand. “Just as we established an independent commission in the aftermath of 9/11, this COVID-19 commission is the best way to strengthen our nation’s emergency response preparedness and build resiliency against any future pandemic or public health crises.”

Marshall said the Commission would be made up of 10 members, five from each political party, and would submit its reports to the President and Congress, as well as make it publicly available. Reports would include an interim report no later than a year after the bill is enacted and a final report no later than 20 months after the initial meeting of the Commission.

Marshall also said the Commission would have the authority to hold hearings, take testimony, administer oaths and issue subpoenas. He said the bill would also commence a declassification review of information related to the origins of the pandemic that the Commission requires.

“The COVID-19 outbreak that emerged in Wuhan, China nearly two years ago put the world into an unprecedented global lockdown, and to this day, the origins of the pandemic remain a mystery as China refuses to fully cooperate with international fact-finding efforts,” said Ernst. “The American people and the world deserve answers, which is why I’m proud to join my colleagues across the aisle to create a bipartisan commission to get to the bottom of the pandemic once and for all—and ensure it never happens again.”

To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.

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