WASHINGTON – Congressman Vern Buchanan announced today that he has co-sponsored legislation to freeze financial support to the World Health Organization (WHO) over its role in helping China cover up the coronavirus. 

Buchanan called the organization “China’s puppet,” noting it absurdly praised the communist government’s “commitment to transparency” and “extraordinary” handling of the virus. 

“Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars should not be freely flowing to an organization that has aided the Chinese government in covering up the origin and spread of the coronavirus,” Buchanan said. “This legislation halts aid until the organization proves it is not under the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.”

Buchanan said President Biden was wrong to reinstate aid after former President Trump had withdrawn from the organization. 

The United States is the single largest contributor to the WHO, the international body that advises the world on health emergencies, out of its 194 total member countries. In fiscal year 2019 the United States contributed more than $415 million to the organization, amounting to roughly 20 percent of the organization’s annual budget. The U.S. also pays nearly twice as much as China in assessed or required contributions each year.

American intelligence officials have confirmed that the Chinese government engaged in a global disinformation campaign regarding the coronavirus. The WHO often echoed China’s messages and has received widespread criticism for their role in assisting the Chinese coverup.

One study found that 95 percent of China’s infections and much of the spread of the coronavirus could have been prevented if Beijing had acted decisively in the early stages and warned the international community.

Even after being warned by Taiwanese officials about the spread of the coronavirus in December 2019, the WHO was slow to act and even denied the reports of human to human spread in China. After another month of startling reports, the WHO’s director-general Tedros Ghebreyesus traveled to China and instead of sounding the alarm about the growing pandemic stated that “the Chinese government is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken… I left in absolutely no doubt about China’s commitment to transparency.”

In January, when Chinese authorities were downplaying the extent of the virus, doctors in Wuhan reportedly observed human-to-human transmission, including by contracting the disease themselves. In fact, according to a National Review article, “What you have probably not heard is how emphatically, loudly, and repeatedly the Chinese government insisted human transmission was impossible, long after doctors in Wuhan had concluded human transmission was ongoing — and how the World Health Organization assented to that conclusion, despite the suspicions of other outside health experts.”

Buchanan said “China is not our friend and the WHO loses all credibility when it chooses to advance China’s lies and deception over public health. We need to hold the WHO responsible for their actions which has cost countless American lives.”

Specifically, the WHO is Accountable Act would prohibit the United States from making any financial contributions to the World Health Organization until the president certifies that the WHO:

  • Is not involved in the coverup of the Chinese government’s response to COVID-19
  • Adopts reforms to ensure that humanitarian assistance goes to those most in need
  • Is not under the control or significant malign influence of the Chinese government
  • Puts in place procedures to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse
  • Grants observer status to Taiwan
  • Ensures that no funds are diverted to Iran, North Korea or Syria

The Trump administration decided to withdraw from the WHO last July and stopped paying dues prior to that; however, countries must provide the WHO a year’s notice before they are able to officially withdraw. President Biden retracted former President Trump’s decision to withdraw as one of his first acts as president.

Buchanan was one of the first in Congress to call for the president to declare a public health emergency and to call for restricting flights into the country from China, the origin of the disease. In 2017, Buchanan proposed that Congress should create a pandemic response fund to combat deadly infectious diseases.