The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Response, now with a Republican majority, will be charged with examining the origins of the pandemic, including federal funding of gain-of-function research following the passing of the rules package, The Hill reported Tuesday.
This is in stark contrast to when the Democrats had the majority in the panel in the previous Congress and focused on looking into the early response and shortcomings from the Trump administration, in addition to the former president's alleged political interference.
The Republican majority is keen to investigate gain-of-function research, since that idea is central to the common GOP position the virus originated from a lab in Wuhan, China, and might have been supported by funding from the U.S. government.
The new focus on the probe might also try to shine a light on whether Dr. Anthony Fauci, the former head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, helped finance controversial research that might have played a role in its creation of the virus.
As the majority, the GOP now has the authority to issue subpoenas to the administration to force it to reveal documents.
The GOP-led committee is also set to probe where trillions of dollars in aid went, as Republicans have claimed the Biden administration has lacked accountability in where the relief money has gone.
A bipartisan pandemic response bill was included in December's omnibus funding legislation, but it did not have a provision that would have set up an independent commission in order to probe the government pandemic response and the origins of the virus, according to The Hill.
The committee's first hearing is expected next month, but Republicans have not yet chosen who will lead the committee.
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