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House Republicans demand testimony from dozens of Biden officials on COVID-19 origins

( Fox )

House Republicans will demand testimony from dozens of Biden administration officials on the origins of COVID-19 in China as well as U.S. funding for virus research in Wuhan when they take control of the chamber in January, the party's leadership announced Wednesday.

Rep. James Comer, R-KY, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, released a list of 40 officials from President Biden's administration and health groups they will expect testimony from in the new year. Chief among those expected to testify is Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top punching bag for Republicans on COVID policy.

"Discovering the origin of COVID-19 is vital to providing accountability and protecting Americans in the future. Mounting evidence points to the virus originating from a leak at the Wuhan lab. EcoHealth Alliance, a U.S. National Institutes of Health grantee, passed taxpayer funds to the Wuhan lab to conduct gain of function research on bat coronaviruses – research that may have started the pandemic," Comer said in a statement announcing the investigation.

Jordan echoed Comer's sentiment, emphasizing the importance of determining the origins of the virus once and for all.

"The American people deserve the facts and the truth about the origins of COVID-19. COVID-19 disrupted our lives and livelihoods for over two years: kids couldn’t go to school, small businesses and churches were closed, our economy tanked, and our freedoms were restricted. If we had known the truth about the virus’s origins, we could have combated the virus in a more meaningful way at the outset of the pandemic," Jordan said in a statement.

The 40 individuals span the Biden administration, the EcoHealth alliance, and several prominent virologists who have already attempted to investigate COVID-19's origins.

Fauci himself has stated that he is "completely open to any possibility" regarding the origins of COVID-19, though he argues the evidence strongly supports a natural origin and not a lab leak.

Jordan, who is in line to chair the House Oversight Committee come January 3, also requested documents and communications from nine top officials, including Fauci and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

Global investigations into the Chinese origins of COVID have largely stalled thanks to Beijing's refusal to provide adequate transparency. A World Health Organization team dispatched to investigate the virus last year faced debilitating restrictions, and its report was widely criticized.

Fauci is stepping down this month from his role as head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, but he is likely to stay in the public eye much longer. He has stated he is more than willing to testify in any Congressional hearings.

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