Balancing Transparency and National Security
Biden expressed his support for Congress' goal of releasing as much information as possible about the origin of COVID-19. However, he emphasized that his administration would prioritize national security when deciding what information to release, stating, "In implementing this legislation, my administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security."
Unanimous Support in Senate and House
The bill received unanimous support in both the Senate and House of Representatives before being sent to the White House for approval.
Ongoing Debate on Coronavirus Origins
The origins of the coronavirus pandemic have been a subject of highly politicized debate in Washington since the first human cases were reported in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Calls from both Democrats and Republicans have urged for a stronger stance against China's rising influence.
U.S. Energy Department Report Reignites Debate
The debate intensified last month when the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Energy Department assessed, with low confidence, that the pandemic likely arose from a Chinese laboratory leak, an assertion that Beijing denies. To date, the U.S. Intelligence Community has not reached a definitive conclusion on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.