Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young on Wednesday refused to say whether President Joe Biden’s budget would include funding for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where some claim COVID-19 originated from.
Young’s comments came during a hearing on the president’s fiscal year 2022 budget after House Budget Committee Ranking Member Jason Smith asked what the administration was doing to get to the bottom of the clear link between American funding and the Wuhan lab and whether Young could commit “that American dollars would never be used to fund such research going forward from this budget?”
“Congressman, I started my career at [National Institutes of Health],” Young responded. “I would never make that commitment as someone who believes we need to be led by science and we certainly need to wait for that review before we jump to conclusions.”
Biden has asked intelligence agencies to redouble their efforts to get to the bottom of COVID-19’s origins and report back to him in 90 days. The idea that the novel coronavirus could have leaked from the lab in Wuhan was initially dismissed by leading health public authorities, but the theory has gained steam in recent weeks – a Wall Street Journal report earlier this week highlighted a May 2020 study that found the lab origin hypothesis to be worth further investigation.
“If Trump was right about the lab leak it would change the image the public had of Trump regarding the coronavirus. More importantly, if it came out of the lab in China, he was right it was the China virus, and the 2020 election would have been about who could hold China accountable, Trump or Biden,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Tuesday.