WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading the bipartisan effort to create a task force to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 outbreak and identify lessons learned regarding U.S. preparedness, response, and recovery to improve our ability to respond to future outbreaks.
Ernst, along with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Roger Marshall (R-Kansas), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), introduced the bipartisan National Task Force on the COVID-19 Pandemic Act, legislation that would create a 9/11 Commission-style task force to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force would investigate the origins of the pandemic, the U.S. response, availability of medical supplies and other resources, public health messaging, the government’s role in the development and distribution of vaccines, and more.
“In hindsight, there were many missteps made in the preparation and response to COVID-19—and possibly even in the origins of the pandemic,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “Learning from these mistakes is the only way to avoid them in the future. Every day we delay this independent, transparent investigation, we risk a fatal repeat. I am proud to be part of this bipartisan effort to uncover the truth before it is too late.”
The task force would have the authority to hold hearings, take testimony and issue subpoenas, and would be comprised of twelve members, six appointed from each party. The task force would submit an interim report to Congress and the president within six months, and a final report within 18 months of its initial meeting.