May 12, 2020
Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn and Martha McSally have introduced legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to file lawsuits against the Chinese Communist Party over the COVID-19 pandemic.
The senators are calling it the Stop COVID Act, with "COVID" standing for "China-Originated Viral Infectious Diseases."
"This would allow the insertion of COVID-19 as a 'biological agent,'" Blackburn said, adding the change would be made to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
As precedent, Blackburn pointed out that the law allowed families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for its suspected role in those attacks.
"What we are doing is giving the individual citizen the right to hold the Chinese Communist Party legally responsible for the act that they have committed," Blackburn said.
During the interview Tuesday, the senator would not rule out speculation the coronavirus that has spread across the globe was a man-made biological weapon, despite a lack of evidence.
"We're going to leave it to the intel community and Five Eyes to say exactly what happened here," the Tennessee senator said. "[China] had 3,000 cases on their hands before they said anything about this."
The theory that the coronavirus emerged from a lab in China has pitted medical experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, against senior Trump administration officials. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was "enormous evidence" to support the theory in an interview on ABC News earlier this month, though he also said he had "no reason to disbelieve" the Office of the Director of National Intelligence assessment that "the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified."
Blackburn, who has publically shared Pompeo's view, says that whether the coronavirus was manmade, the Chinese government failed to protect its citizens and the rest of the world.
"They eliminated travel between Wuhan and the rest of China, but they allowed international flights from Wuhan to other parts of the globe," Blackburn said. "They knew about this for weeks. They didn't do anything to stop it."