Covid-19 Origin Act of 2023

Floor Speech

Date: March 10, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 199, I call up the bill (S. 619) to require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID-19, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate consideration in the House.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.


Mr. TURNER. 619.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of S. 619, a bill that would require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID-19. The House companion bill, H.R. 1376, passed unanimously out of the Intelligence Committee.

I thank Ranking Member Himes for his dedication to bipartisanship and professionalism as we work together to try to ensure that the Intelligence Committee responds to the needs of the House.

Madam Speaker, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the country, with almost every household feeling its effects. The United States death toll from this virus has surpassed 1 million people.

Although concrete data is hard to lock down, millions of Americans are suffering from the long-term effects directly attributed to this virus.

COVID-19 has also negatively affected our communities, especially our kids. It has become increasingly clear that school-age children face major educational hurdles because of distance learning and long-term school closures.

The American public deserves answers to every aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how this virus was created, and specifically, whether it was a natural occurrence or was the result of a lab-related event.

The House Intelligence Committee which oversees our intelligence community is aware of classified information that could help inform the public why COVID-19 as a lab leak theory is not just a possibility but approaches the idea that it is likely.

The intelligence community does have more information about COVID-19 than the public is led to believe. Much of the information they have can be declassified and disseminated to the public. In fact, the bill we are discussing today would give the American public just a glimpse, albeit a very important aspect, of the classified information the intelligence community holds.

S. 619, if passed by the House and signed into law, would give the American public a unique insight as to what was happening at a biosafety level laboratory in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and early 2020. This laboratory and who was working there might be the key to unraveling the truth.

For those concerned about declassifying COVID-19 origins information, I can assure you that the intelligence community could release this information while protecting their sources and methods of how it was collected. In fact, I believe that the intelligence community could go further than what is called for in S. 619 and release most of what it knows about COVID origins, but this is a good start.

COVID-19 ranks as one of this century's most important events. No community was spared, and every corner of the world felt its effects. Everyone deserves to know what our intelligence community knows, and S. 619 is the right step in the right direction.


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I appreciate my ranking member's very thoughtful comments and remarks.

Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. Garcia).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Crawford).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Kelly).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Austin Scott).

Mr. AUSTIN SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, like millions of people around the world, in 2020, I tested positive for COVID. I was fortunate. After several days in the hospital and 14 days on oxygen, I was able to recover. Many were not.

Americans and the rest of the world deserve to know exactly where this virus started and any details surrounding the origins of the virus that launched the globe into chaos.

If the CCP was not fully transparent during these times, people need to know that, as well. How long did they cover it up? How long did they know that this virus had been unleashed?

If we are going to defeat the Communist Chinese Party, our government has to be transparent about how malicious they have become. The U.S. and other freedom-loving Nations are going to have to join together to make sure that we expose their intent to the world.

I believe that we all have the right to know about the origins of COVID-19, and I urge my colleagues to support this resolution to require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify any of the information that we have on the origins of COVID and the CCP.


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Utah (Mr. Stewart).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, the issue of the origins of COVID are so important that our Speaker has appointed a select subcommittee on the origins of COVID. Our next speaker, Dr. Wenstrup, is the chair of that subcommittee.

Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Wenstrup).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Murphy).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. McCormick).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Pfluger).


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I have no more speakers.


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I want to begin by thanking my ranking member. This bill comes to the House floor from the Senate with bipartisan support in the House, and it does so as a result of the leadership of the Ranking Member, Jim Himes. I appreciate his commitment to both the declassifying of information and to the importance of this information concerning COVID- 19, and for the fact that we are working in a bipartisan manner to do so.

This will be a very strong statement from this House today that we want to know the origins of COVID-19. The American public deserves to know the answers, and that we are moving to declassify the information that we have available.

Madam Speaker, I ask for support of S. 619, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. TURNER. Madam Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 419, nays 0, not voting 16, as follows: [Roll No. 143] YEAS--419 Adams Aderholt Aguilar Alford Allen Allred Amodei Armstrong Arrington Auchincloss Babin Bacon Baird Balderson Balint Banks Barr Barragan Bean (FL) Beatty Bentz Bera Bergman Bice Biggs Bilirakis Bishop (GA) Bishop (NC) Blumenauer Blunt Rochester Boebert Bonamici Bost Bowman Boyle (PA) Brecheen Brown Brownley Buchanan Buck Bucshon Budzinski Burchett Burgess Burlison Bush Calvert Cammack Caraveo Carbajal Cardenas Carey Carl Carson Carter (GA) Carter (LA) Carter (TX) Cartwright Casar Case Casten Castor (FL) Chavez-DeRemer Cherfilus-McCormick Chu Cicilline Ciscomani Clark (MA) Clarke (NY) Cline Cloud Clyburn Clyde Cohen Cole Collins Comer Connolly Correa Costa Courtney Craig Crane Crawford Crenshaw Crockett Crow Cuellar Curtis D'Esposito Davids (KS) Davidson Davis (IL) Davis (NC) De La Cruz Dean (PA) DeGette DeLauro DelBene Deluzio DeSaulnier DesJarlais Diaz-Balart Dingell Doggett Donalds Duarte Duncan Dunn (FL) Ellzey Emmer Escobar Eshoo Espaillat Estes Evans Ezell Fallon Feenstra Ferguson Finstad Fischbach Fitzgerald Fitzpatrick Fleischmann Fletcher Flood Foster Foushee Foxx Frankel, Lois Franklin, C. Scott Frost Fry Fulcher Gaetz Gallagher Garamendi Garbarino Garcia (IL) Garcia (TX) Garcia, Mike Garcia, Robert Gimenez Golden (ME) Goldman (NY) Gomez Gonzales, Tony Gonzalez, Vicente Good (VA) Gooden (TX) Gosar Gottheimer Granger Graves (LA) Graves (MO) Green (TN) Green, Al (TX) Greene (GA) Griffith Grijalva Grothman Guest Guthrie Hageman Harder (CA) Harris Harshbarger Hayes Hern Higgins (LA) Higgins (NY) Hill Himes Hinson Horsford Houchin Houlahan Hoyer Hoyle (OR) Hudson Huffman Huizenga Hunt Issa Ivey Jackson (IL) Jackson (NC) Jackson (TX) Jackson Lee Jacobs James Jayapal Jeffries Johnson (GA) Johnson (LA) Johnson (OH) Johnson (SD) Jordan Joyce (OH) Joyce (PA) Kamlager-Dove Kaptur Kean (NJ) Keating Kelly (IL) Kelly (MS) Kelly (PA) Khanna Kiggans (VA) Kildee Kiley Kilmer Kim (CA) Kim (NJ) Krishnamoorthi Kuster Kustoff LaHood LaLota LaMalfa Lamborn Landsman Langworthy Larsen (WA) Larson (CT) Latta LaTurner Lawler Lee (CA) Lee (FL) Lee (NV) Lee (PA) Lesko Letlow Levin Lofgren Loudermilk Lucas Luetkemeyer Luna Luttrell Lynch Mace Magaziner Malliotakis Mann Manning Massie Mast Matsui McBath McCarthy McCaul McClain McClellan McClintock McCollum McCormick McGarvey McGovern Meeks Menendez Meuser Mfume Miller (IL) Miller (OH) Miller (WV) Mills Molinaro Moolenaar Mooney Moore (AL) Moore (UT) Moore (WI) Moran Morelle Moskowitz Moulton Mrvan Mullin Murphy Nadler Napolitano Neal Neguse Nehls Newhouse Nickel Norcross Norman Nunn (IA) Obernolte Ocasio-Cortez Ogles Omar Owens Pallone Palmer Panetta Pappas Pascrell Payne Pelosi Peltola Pence Perez Perry Peters Pettersen Pfluger Pingree Pocan Porter Posey Pressley Quigley Ramirez Raskin Reschenthaler Rodgers (WA) Rogers (AL) Rogers (KY) Rose Rosendale Ross Rouzer Roy Ruiz Ruppersberger Rutherford Ryan Salazar Salinas Sanchez Santos Sarbanes Scalise Scanlon Schakowsky Schiff Schneider Scholten Schweikert Scott (VA) Scott, Austin Scott, David Self Sessions Sewell Sherman Sherrill Simpson Slotkin Smith (MO) Smith (NE) Smith (NJ) Smith (WA) Smucker Sorensen Soto Spanberger Stansbury Stanton Stauber Steel Stefanik Steil Stevens Stewart Strickland Strong Swalwell Sykes Takano Tenney Thanedar Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Thompson (PA) Tiffany Titus Tlaib Tokuda Tonko Torres (CA) Torres (NY) Trahan Trone Turner Underwood Valadao Van Duyne Van Orden Vargas Vasquez Veasey Velazquez Wagner Walberg Waltz Wasserman Schultz Waters Watson Coleman Weber (TX) Webster (FL) Wenstrup Westerman Wexton Wild Williams (GA) Williams (NY) Williams (TX) Wilson (FL) Wilson (SC) Wittman Womack Yakym Zinke NOT VOTING--16 Beyer Castro (TX) Cleaver Edwards Gallego Leger Fernandez Lieu McHenry Meng Miller-Meeks Phillips Schrier Spartz Steube Timmons Van Drew

Messrs. McCARTHY, TAKANO, Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, and Mrs. TORRES of California changed their vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''

So the bill was passed.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Stated for: