Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, none of the information provided to us by China, the World Health Organization (WHO), or Dr. Fauci has been clear. In fact, the American people have received a healthy dose of Communist propaganda, misleading public health guidance, and outright lies about the origins of this pandemic.

But in recent weeks, one reality has become crystal clear: China has been a malicious actor in creating COVID-19 and withholding its dangers from the world. Expert testimony before Congress last week, along with recent reporting, laid out the mounting evidence that this virus originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China. 

Unfortunately, we only received this information by way of public news reports and expert testimony before a forum hosted by me and other Republican members of Congress. We hosted this forum on the origins of COVID-19 because the Democrat majority in Congress – who possess subpoena power and broader investigative authority – refused to do their job and get to the bottom of a pandemic that has killed 600,000 Americans. They refused to hold a single committee hearing focused on the origins of this virus and holding China accountable.

As Republican Leader of the House Oversight Committee, I hosted this forum alongside Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. We thought this public discussion was critical to gathering information on the origins of this virus, which we did. Unfortunately, we were unable to capture a full picture of what senior medical officials knew, due to the refusal by Dr. Anthony Fauci to accept our invitation to speak.

His refusal to come before Congress adds further suspicion about his willingness to be transparent about China’s role in the virus, which his emails indicate he took much more seriously than he was telling the public. As the highest paid federal employee, he should have no problem coming before Congress and communicating clearly with the American people.

Here’s what we know: America’s very own National Institutes of Health (NIH) deleted gene sequences of early COVID-19 cases at the urging of the Chinese government – removing key pieces of information that would help determine the pandemic’s origins. At the same time, Communist China and the World Health Organization were telling the world that the virus came from an animal, not the Wuhan lab.

Both the Chinese government and their partners at the WHO continued to deny human-to-human transmission of the virus, even when such a reality was clear.

We also know that three researchers from the Wuhan lab became ill and sought hospital care in November of 2019, a full month before any cases were publicly reported out of China. Finally, gain-of-function research, a dangerous form of scientific study believed to have created the virus, was being performed in Wuhan with funding from American taxpayers.

These signs all point toward the virus escaped from the Wuhan lab, and China hiding its origins to the detriment of the entire world. The families of the 600,000 Americans lost to COVID-19 deserve answers, as well as a government that is honest and straightforward with them. 

In order to prevent the next pandemic, and to pursue appropriate accountability measures for the devastation created by COVID-19, it is critical that we understand exactly how we got to the point of a global pandemic. I am committed to doing just that, even if President Biden and the Democratic majority in Washington would rather sweep China’s involvement under the rug.