Watchdog groups are pressing Congress to halt taxpayer funds going to foreign labs, particularly the controversial Wuhan Institute of Virology, which is suspected of carrying out research that could have led to the coronavirus outbreak, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
Several watchdog groups were particularly worried that recent congressional approval of a temporary spending bill to keep the federal government running throughout the end of the year would result in taxpayer funds being allocated to foreign labs via the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Foreign government-controlled laboratories should not be eligible to receive U.S. taxpayer dollars while they disregard our policies, dodge congressional oversight, or act against our national interest," seven watchdog organizations, led by the White Coat Waste Project, wrote in a recent letter sent to lawmakers on the House and Senate appropriations committees.
The group added that "the National Institutes of Health, with little accountability to Congress or the [Biden] administration, continues to authorize funding for animal experimentation laboratories directly controlled by foreign adversaries that act contrary to the national interest of the United States."
The letter criticized NIH officials for "actively monitoring and pushing back against congressional efforts to defund risky gain-of-function experiments in China, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology."
A Republican investigation in October already stated that the most likely cause of the coronavirus pandemic was a lab leak, potentially from the Wuhan Institute, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
Currently, NIH is allowed to fund labs operating in "foreign adversary nations" such as Russia and China, according to the watchdog groups.
The letter reads: "NIH bureaucrats make the final call and continue to fund these animal labs without regard for the American taxpayer. Meanwhile, taxpayers have repeatedly indicated their support for withholding those funds — 71 percent of respondents to a recent poll indicated that they support federal legislation to restrict animal testing in countries that are adversaries of the United States."
Proposed legislation in the House would formalize prohibitions on taxpayer funds spent at foreign labs, and the White Coat Waste Project and other groups signing on to the letter are demanding that similar provisions be included in the most recent federal spending bill.
"We shouldn’t be forced to bankroll dangerous, cruel, and wasteful animal experiments in places like Wuhan and St. Petersburg," White Coat Waste Project Government Affairs Director Tristan Daedalus said. "Yet, as our government watchdog first exposed, the Wuhan Institute of Virology and 30 other animal labs in Russia and China are still currently authorized to receive U.S. taxpayer dollars via the National Institutes of Health."
Brian Freeman ✉
Brian Freeman, a Newsmax writer based in Israel, has more than three decades writing and editing about culture and politics for newspapers, online and television.
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