The Toll of China's Covid Coverup on U.S. Businesses
Earlier this week, Leader McCarthy and top House Republicans released their roadmap for Covid-19 accountability (below), an eight-pillar plan to hold the Chinese Communist Party responsible for their Covid coverup, and deliver transparency and justice to the American people.
Of course, the gravest injustice China must be held accountable for is the tragic loss of 600,000 Americans due to the CCP’s lies and deceit. That’s more than the total number of American lives lost during World War I and World War II combined, and as Leader McCarthy said yesterday, Republicans will make sure China is held responsible.
But today, we wanted to highlight another cost of China’s coverup: the countless businesses forced to close their doors due to the pandemic and the tens of thousands of Americans who lost their livelihoods.
In early April, roughly one year after the virus reached our shores, it was reported that the number of U.S. establishments forced to permanently close was about 200,000 more than the average of recent years, a striking 33% increase.
Tragically, a disproportionate amount of these establishments are small businesses — mom-and-pop shops with entire families who depend on their success. For many of these businesses, lockdowns and Covid-related restrictions proved to be a death sentence.
Heather Stouffer, owner of Mom Made Foods, gave a heartbreaking account of how the pandemic claimed her business, self-identity, and her family’s security:
“The pandemic ground our supply chain to a halt… Despite our fiercest efforts in response, the circumstances and impact from the pandemic were far beyond control for our small business. It’s the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. There have been many tears shed. The grief involved in closing a business is very real. I’ve loved Mom Made like a third child. My kids have never known me as anything other than the founder of Mom Made.”
Unfortunately, Heather is just one of many small business owners who lost everything because of China’s Covid coverup. Mick Larkin, a karaoke club owner from Texas, described what it was like being forced to close despite following every possible Covid safety precaution, “We did everything we were supposed to do. When [we were] shut down again, and after I put out all that money… I just said, ‘I can’t keep doing this.’”
And according to Yelp’s Economic Impact Report at the end of last year, 60 percent of the businesses that closed because of the pandemic will never open their doors again. That’s roughly 480,000 businesses China’s Covid coverup permanently destroyed.
The effects of small businesses being forced to close en masse extend far beyond their owners, employees, and those reliant upon them. Business closures are one of the primary factors determining the extent of the pandemic’s total economic impact. A recent study suggested that “business closures and partial reopenings due to COVID-19 could cost the U.S. trillions.”
Couple that with President Biden’s misguided economic policies that pay many would-be workers more to stay home through enhanced unemployment insurance than they would make returning to the workforce, and you have a recipe for disaster. Business owners that were able to weather the storm must now deal with the labor shortage created by the President’s tax-and-spend agenda.
For the businesses fortunate enough to survive thanks to the previous administration’s pragmatic economic stewardship, specifically the creation and enactment of the incredibly successful Paycheck Protection Program, the return to normal remains daunting. Small business revenue is down 61 percent from the beginning of last year, and down a staggering 89 percent for the hospitality and leisure industry.
It is incumbent upon our country’s leaders to hold China accountable and deliver transparency and justice for every American whose livelihood has been jeopardized because of China’s Covid coverup. Republicans’ plan will do exactly that.
Holding China Accountable: A Republican Call to Action & Roadmap for Covid-19 Accountability
A letter to House Republicans from Leader Kevin McCarthy:
Last week, I wrote to you saying that our country was dealt a significant blow by the coronavirus and that the Democrats in Congress and the White House have no plan to hold China accountable.
This letter offers eight pillars we will introduce to deliver transparency and justice as Republicans continue to lead on behalf of the American people.
As of June, more than 600,000 Americans and 3.8 million people have died worldwide as a result of Covid-19.
The unfortunate reality is that countless friends and family members could have been saved had it not been for the deception of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). A March 2020 report by the University of Southampton found if interventions in China could have been conducted one, two, or three weeks earlier, cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively.
Evidence continues to indicate that the CCP intentionally hid information and lied about what it knew to be true about the virus. Additionally, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom knowingly and willfully downplayed or outright denied the Chinese government’s malfeasance, and instead chose to cower to the CCP rather than stand up for the international community.
Like all of you, I am deeply angry about the avoidable loss of life, hope, and futures resulting from the CCP’s actions. They and their conspirators must be held accountable.
However, despite the CCP’s duplicity, the United States stands resilient. It is the American men and women who led the way in creating and distributing the multiple available vaccines who we have to thank as we defeat this virus, from President Trump and his Administration to scientists and truck drivers, nurses and factory line workers. The spirit and determination we’ve seen over the last year and a half should make us all proud to be part of this country.
This isn’t a point of Republican pride. It is American pride, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike, because when our country is under siege, manmade or otherwise, we stand together. However, the path forward to address this threat and bring the responsible parties to justice is where we have diverged.
President Joe Biden has failed to utilize any of his broad powers to hold China accountable and has willingly given up valuable leverage to force constructive change at the WHO. It is clear the American people can’t count on the Administration or Democrats in Congress to take meaningful action to find the truth and demand justice.
But we have and will continue to fight. Members throughout the conference have been speaking up, getting to work, and making it known House Republicans will always stand up for America.
Whip Steve Scalise with the Republican Members on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, along with Ranking Member of the Oversight and Reform Committee James Comer, led our conference (over 200 members) in demanding Speaker Nancy Pelosi allow a congressional probe into the virus’s origins. Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers has also led oversight measures for our conference on the origins and funding related to coronavirus research.
Last week, Chairwoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Rob Wittman introduced legislation to sanction Chinese officials involved in the coverup. Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Mike McCaul has leveraged his committee and the China Task Force to ensure accountability of the CCP and WHO.
Congressman Dan Crenshaw introduced legislation last year to give Americans the opportunity to seek damages from China’s deception. Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick have also introduced legislation to do the same.
These are just a few examples. To all of our members, your work is not unnoticed by the rest of America.
I have emphasized the importance of our conference remaining relentlessly focused on the issues and adhering to a simple question: how will we make life better for every American? It starts by first letting them know we have their backs. When a foreign entity is responsible for the deaths, loss of livelihoods, and permanent alterations to the way of life of our citizens, we do something about it.
We can start with these eight pillars that deliver transparency and justice to the American people:
1. Declassification of Intelligence: House Republicans will introduce legislation to require declassification of information related to the origins of Covid-19, including in any report that comes from President Biden’s recent request.
2. Prohibit Gain of Function Research in and with China: We must ensure the United States no longer funds any gain of function research conducted in or with China, or any individual with known ties to the CCP.
3. Prohibition on National Institutes of Health (NIH) Funding to Malevolent Foreign Governments: Congress should prohibit NIH funding to grantees or subgrantees from doing research with irresponsible foreign governments or entities who are intent on harming the United States, its allies, or the American people, such as China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea.
4. WHO Overhaul and Counterintelligence Investigation: WHO Director-General Tedros should step down from his post at the WHO; Taiwan should be granted observer status at the WHO; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in partnership with the U.S. Intelligence Community, should conduct a counterintelligence investigation into the U.S. medical research establishment to determine the extent to which the governments of China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea have infiltrated critical U.S. organizations.
5. Investigations and Utilizing Existing Authorities: President Biden and Congress must continue to investigate the origins of Covid-19.
6. Visa Restrictions and Sanctions: Congress should pass a new sanctions regime imposing economic sanctions and visa and admissibility restrictions on those in China, associated with the CCP, WHO, or other international organizations who knowingly and willfully participated in the Covid-19 coverup.
7. Waiving Chinese Sovereign Immunity: The families of those who have died from Covid-19 should be given the option to file suit against the Chinese government for damages incurred as a result of the reckless conduct of the CCP. Several Republican members, including Dan Crenshaw, Ann Wagner, and Brian Fitzpatrick, have introduced legislation allowing such lawsuits to go forward.
8. Relocation of the 24th Olympic Winter Games: Given the CCP’s active coverup of Covid-19 and contribution to the 3.8 million deaths worldwide, China should not be rewarded by allowing Beijing to host the Winter Olympics in 2022.
I intend to introduce this framework this week with many of our colleagues. America needs leadership and Republicans are ready to deliver.