While the Senate is only in session for a brief pro forma session today, the House convened at 9:00 A.M. and passed S. 619 – A bill to require the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID-19. The legislation, titled the COVID-19 Origin Act, passed in a 419-0 vote, just over a week after the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) sponsored the measure. The bill passed by the House on Friday would specifically direct the DNI to “declassify any and all information relating to potential links between the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the origin” of COVID-19. That, according to the measure, includes “activities performed by the Wuhan Institute of Virology with or on behalf of the People’s Liberation Army” and “coronavirus research or other related activities performed at the Wuhan Institute of Virology prior to the outbreak of COVID-19.” Additionally, the measure would require that the DNI declassify information on the researchers working at the Wuhan Institute of Virology who became sick in autumn 2019.
The Senate will stand adjourned until 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, March 14th at which time it will consider the nomination of Brent Neiman to be a Deputy Under Secretary of the Treasury. Cloture has been filed on the following nominations and votes could potentially occur next week: Eric M. Garcetti, of California, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of India, Ravi Chaudhary to be an Assistant Secretary of the Air Force and Laura Taylor-Kale to be an Assistant Secretary of Defense
After adjourning today, the House will be in recess until Wednesday, March 22nd.