Doug Collins backs Senate's call for China sanctions: 'They deceived the world' while people died

Joshua Nelson | Fox News

Rep. Doug Collins said Wednesday that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., is right to bring forth a bill imposing sanctions on China for their mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak, explaining that a House version is in the works.

“China deceived the world while people were dying. They were taking precautions inside their own borders while yet letting people go internationally,” the Georgia Republican lawmaker told “America’s Newsroom.”

Collins called for an “independent investigation led by the U.S. and others” to make sure that China is “held accountable.”

“The Chinese officials who did this, they need to be in a position where they can be sanctioned, where their assets are frozen. Those are the kind of things we’ll look at in this bill. We also need to be able to make sure that there is now accountability for this," Collins said.

Collins' comments came after Graham introduced legislation that would allow President Trump to impose a wide range of sanctions on the Chinese government if it refuses to cooperate with an international investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

The COVID-19 Accountability Act would require Trump to certify to Congress that China had cooperated with an international coronavirus investigation, led by either the U.S., an ally or a U.N. body, closed all relevant wet markets, and released Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters arrested during the crisis.

If not, then Trump would be authorized by Congress to impose a range of sanctions -- including asset freezes, travel bans and measures barring U.S. institutions from making loans to Chinese businesses.

The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Mike Braun of Indiana, Rick Scott of Florida, Steve Daines of Montana, Todd Young of Indiana, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Collins said that Trump initiated a move against China first. Collins also explained further how the bill will hold China accountable for “being a bad actor” in the coronavirus pandemic.

“In fact, [Trump] actually started this when he [announced] the Chinese travel ban, which actually folks on the left criticized. He understood this, but now it is time to give him the tools that he can use, that we can now use to actually hold China accountable where it really hurts the most: in their travel, in their money, and in their manufacturing.”

Collins said that the bill will also raise the standards for the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals in China.

“Things that are manufactured [in China] need to come up to the same standard as we see here. This is a bill that I am proud to partner with. We’re going to see it in the House.”