Republicans Demand Agencies to Terminate Grant Funding to EcoHealth

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A group of Republican lawmakers has sent letters to the National Institute of Health (NIH) (pdf) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (pdf) requesting them to halt federal funding to EcoHealth Alliance, an organization that provided finance to Wuhan Lab.

The bicameral effort led by Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) came following September reports that nearly $3 million of federal funds had continued flowing into the New York-based nonprofit group, the largest sum the organization has received from the NIH in a single year.

NIH is under heavy scrutiny for its role in funneling public money to a key laboratory in China for bat coronavirus research that many believe may have caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawmakers pointed to the failure of the group to provide information about the taxpayer-funded coronavirus research being conducted with the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) as requested by NIH.

EcoHealth’s president, Peter Daszak, called the questioning “inappropriate” and “heinous,” the group noted.

“He also orchestrated an effort to taint the investigation into the origins of COVID-19, calling suggestions that there could have been a lab leak from the Wuhan Institute ‘conspiracy theories,’” the Oct. 7 letter further stated.

In July 2020, the NIH suspended a multi-year grant worth $3.7 million to EcoHealth to study bat coronaviruses in China in collaboration with WIV over concerns the grantees weren’t complying with the grant terms.

The health agency eventually terminated the WIV sub-award on Aug. 19, citing the group’s refusal to report a WIV experiment that made the bat coronavirus more dangerous.

The lawmakers questioned in the letters, “Given this history of compliance failure and concerning lack of transparency, what made NIH suddenly reverse course to award EcoHealth new funding?”

Resuming the funding to the health group amounts to gross abuse of hard-working Americans’ tax dollars, Reschenthaler told the Caller before sending the letter.

“EcoHealth and its president, Peter Daszak, are complicit in failing to comply with federal law and collaborating with a Chinese Communist Party secret laboratory,” he further stated.

According to the Pennsylvania congressman, the move is part of their bid to “hold the Biden Administration accountable to end the relationship with this negligent organization.”

In late September, days after the latest grant was handed out, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced legislation that would ban providing federal funds to EcoHealth Alliance, specifically over its research at the Wuhan lab.

“Giving taxpayer money to EcoHealth to study pandemic prevention is like paying a suspected arsonist to conduct fire safety inspections. You would think we would have learned a lesson the first time, but here we are again with the same plot but a bigger budget!” Ernst then told The Epoch Times in an email.

Eva Fu contributed to this report.

Hannah Ng

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Hannah Ng is a reporter covering U.S. and China news. She holds a master’s degree in international and development economics from the University of Applied Science Berlin.



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