WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup, a GOP physician who represents the Cincinnati area, expects to become the chairman of a select House of Representatives subcommittee that will investigate a host of politically charged issues to the coronavirus, including the origins of the disease, vaccine development, how an estimated $5 trillion in federal aid was used, and the societal impact of coronavirus-related school closures.
Wenstrup, a 10-year-old congressman who currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence, said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy asked him to lead the subcommittee. He expects an official announcement in a few days.
Wenstrup says he’s been researching the coronavirus since lockdowns began to contain its spread in 2020. He’s particularly concerned about research that has been done on creating “chimera, or gain-of-function” viruses that merge the genetic material of several viruses. Wenstrup says the research was strongly supported by former National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci.
“Someone even asked him, ‘Are you worried about this coming out of the lab and creating a pandemic?’ and he says, “I don’t think it’s going to happen and the benefits are worth it,” Wenstrup said in an interview.
As co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, Wenstrup has repeatedly expressed concern that the coronavirus resulted from US-funded “gain-of-function” research at a lab in Wuhan, China. and introduced legislation that would prohibit federal dollars from directly or indirectly funding such research. in China and several other countries.
Wenstrup said the subcommittee will be under the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. That committee’s chair, Kentucky Republican Rep. James Comer, and its lead Democrat, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, will be ex-officio members but will not be able to vote on subcommittee issues.
A set of House of Representatives rules passed by Republicans says the subcommittee will be made up of no more than 12 members nominated by McCarthy of California, including five appointed in consultation with House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
He will be responsible for delivering a final report to the House of Representatives no later than January 2, 2024, although he may also provide interim reports as he deems necessary.
When Democrats controlled the US House of Representatives, a select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis chaired by South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn released a report that blamed the Trump administration for mismanagement. relief programs that made them vulnerable to waste-related fraud and abuse. Wenstrup was not among its members.
Wenstrup was among the defenders of Trump’s House Intelligence Committee when he led hearings on whether Trump should be impeached for pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate current President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, during a discussion of US aid to Ukraine while Trump was president.
Wenstrup, who retired last year as a colonel in the US Army Reserve, served as a combat surgeon in Iraq. He gained national attention in 2017 for administering first aid when House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana was injured by a gunman who opened fire on the Louisiana baseball team. GOP Congress.
Sabrina Eaton covers politics and federal government in Washington, DC, for Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Learn more about his work here.
. Brad Wenstrup Ohio to chair subcommittee selected of coronavirus House of Representatives of United States