WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the Biological Weapons Policy Act, a bill to keep Americans safe from the threat of biological weapons, including by increasing scrutiny of research collaboration with malign actors like China.
“The COVID-19 pandemic was a wakeup call – it’s time to take biological threats more seriously,” said Risch. “We need stronger oversight of our collaboration on biological research with countries of concern, including China and Russia. The State Department has called out Russia for its offensive biological weapons program, and noted serious concerns with China’s compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention. We must ensure that our well-intentioned cooperative efforts do not put the United States and our partners at risk.”
Text of the legislation can be found here.
On September 9, Risch sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro requesting a GAO report on U.S. government oversight of certain federally funded international biological research to ensure potential national security risks to the United States are appropriately considered.
On July 27, Risch sent a letter to President Biden asking the administration to take three crucial steps to get to the bottom of the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to prevent a similar calamity in the future.