Joni Ernst introduces the "FAUCI Act" and I'm still laughing

Caroline Brehman/Pool Photo via AP

I don’t know if they’ll be able to find a single Democrat in either chamber to vote for the bill that Joni Ernst just introduced, but they really should pass this thing, if only for some badly needed humorous relief during a contentious political season. The FAUCI Act seeks to ban American funding of gain-of-function research in China and would require a full investigation into how American tax dollars were spent inside the secretive walls of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. The acronym is the major selling point here because it stands for the “Fairness and Accountability in Underwriting Chinese Institutions Act.” She’s also (likely intentionally) calling out the mainstream media’s mishandling of this story from the beginning, constantly taking Fauci’s side even after we learned that he was absolutely wrong on this question. (Fox News)

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is introducing legislation aimed at banning funding “gain-of-function” research in China while calling for a “full accounting” of how U.S. tax dollars were spent on the research.

“For years, American tax dollars were funneled into Communist China, funding dangerous experiments on coronaviruses at the Wuhan Lab, while the head of the division funding those activities, Dr. Fauci, failed to tell the truth to Congress,” Ernst said in a press release Monday.

“We need a full accounting of how and where our tax dollars are being spent—enough is enough. The FAUCI Act will put an end to U.S. funding of gain-of-function research in Communist China, go after government officials who intentionally mislead Congress, and bring about badly needed transparency and accountability.”

All jokes aside, this remains a very serious topic and one that needs to be further explored by Congress. As you may recall, back in July there were congressional hearings held to explore the origins of the novel coronavirus and Dr. Anthony Fauci was called upon to testify. It was Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul who grilled Fauci about NIH funding for gain-of-function viral research in Wuhan. Fauci erupted at Rand Paul, telling him he was “entirely and completely incorrect.” He went on to say that Paul didn’t know what he was talking about and that NIH “has not ever and does not now fund gain-of-function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

But as we learned a couple of weeks ago, it turns out that Rand Paul actually did know what he was talking about. NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak had previously stated that fact explicitly in a letter on the subject. (The Hill)

NIH principal deputy director Lawrence Tabak stated in a letter that EcoHealth Alliance laid out in a five-year progress report on bat coronavirus research that it was conducted under an NIH grant and that “in this limited experiment, laboratory mice infected with the SHC014 WIV1 bat coronavirus became sicker than those infected with the WIV1 bat coronavirus.”

“As sometimes occurs in science, this was an unexpected result of the research, as opposed to something that the researchers set out to do,” Tabak wrote. “EcoHealth failed to report this finding right away, as was required by the terms of the grant.”

Despite one CNN anchor immediately declaring that Rand Paul had “acted like an ass” and MSNBC accusing him of “slander” against Fauci, the truth finally came out.

Given the current state of relations between the United States and China and the open questions that remain about the origins of the virus, there’s shouldn’t be a single penny of American taxpayer money going anywhere near the Chinese Communist Party without strict congressional oversight and transparency for the public. That is doubly true for any funding that may be finding its way to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. And while we’re on the subject, it’s long past time to get Anthony Fauci off of the stage. He’s moved the goalposts so many times at this point that they have wheels installed on them permanently. And I have no idea if he was lying about the gain-of-function research in Wuhan or just hadn’t been paying attention to what was being done. But once the question was raised, the correct answer would have been to say that he would look into it immediately, not to insult the person bringing the question to him.