U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today announced legislation that authorizes the President to impose sanctions on China if China fails to cooperate and provide a full accounting of the events leading up to the outbreak of coronavirus. The COVID-19 Accountability Act was introduced by Senators Young, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
“The Chinese Communist Party’s mistakes enabled the coronavirus to grow from a local issue to a global pandemic. Instead of being transparent, Chinese diplomats are sharing propaganda. It is clear that China intends to use this crisis to their advantage by extending their influence around the world. We must not only hold China accountable, but get to the bottom of how this pandemic began and prevent it from happening again,” said Senator Todd Young.
Under the COVID-19 Accountability Act, the President would be required to make a certification to Congress within 60 days that China has:
• Provided a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19 investigation led by the United States, its allies or UN affiliate such as the World Health Organization (WHO).
• Closed all operating wet markets that have the potential to expose humans to health risks through the introduction of zoonotic disease into the human population.
• Released all Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates that were arrested in the post COVID-19 crackdowns.
Without certification, the President would be authorized to impose a range of sanctions such as asset freezes, travel bans, visa revocations, restricting United States financial institutions from making loans or underwriting to Chinese businesses, and prohibiting Chinese firms from being listed on American stock exchanges.