A bipartisan bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives on Tuesday that would authorize a new partnership program to enhance cooperation between the United States and Israel to develop innovative approaches for treating and potentially curing COVID-19.
Reps. David Kustoff (R-TN), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Lance Gooden (R-TX) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) introduced the Expanding Medical Partnerships with Israel to Lessen Dependence on China Act.
The coronavirus pandemic originated in Wuhan, China. The exact source of the virus has been disputed with some claiming that it came manufactured from a lab, some saying it escaped accidentally while the Wuhan lab technicians were researching the virus during their work with bats captured from a distant province. Others stated that it emanated from the use of wet markets — again, in Wuhan and not far from the lab — where fish and meat are butchered and sold.
“The United States and Israel are world leaders in the medical technology industry,” said Kustoff. “It’s long past time we end our dependence on China and enhance our partnership with our great ally Israel to develop innovative medical technologies to treat and cure COVID-19. It’s in the benefit of not only our two countries, but also the rest of the world.”
In addition to the bill, the House members are also pushing for the inclusion of $12 million, which would be matched by Israel, to fund the new research partnership in any future legislation to address the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last month by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), in which they announced they would seek to appropriate $12 million in upcoming legislation to enhance partnerships between companies in the United States and Israel to develop innovative medical projects aimed at detecting, treating and curing coronavirus.
“I’ve long said that China poses the most significant, long-term geopolitical threat to the United States. Our dependence on China for life-saving medications and treatments is deeply problematic,” Cruz said at the time. “Israel is not only our friend and ally, but also a global leader in medicine with which we already cooperate on exactly those issues.”
“The United States and Israel are world leaders in the medical technology industry, and it is in the interest of all Americans, Israelis and the rest of the world that we work together to fight COVID-19,” said Coons. “This virus knows no borders, and our bill underscores the importance of international collaboration in the face of a truly global pandemic.”
Hana Levi Julian contributed to this report.