TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn says she wants China to pay for their role in the spread of the coronavirus to the United States.
She has now introduced a bill in the Senate called the “Stop COVID Act” alongside Republican Senator Martha McSally of Arizona.
“This pandemic is worse, because of their actions. I think we should quarantine China because of what they have done to the global economy, to the U.S., our economy and our citizens,” says Blackburn.
The bill seeks to hold China responsible legally and financially for COVID-19.
“They knew they had the virus, they lied about it, they withheld information. They were not transparent, they tried to blame it on the U.S. military. Passing that to send China this message that we know what they did and why, that is vitally important,” says Blackburn.
The Senator also argues in the bill that the Chinese government should cancel trillions of dollars of debt owed by the U.S. to China.
“They need to waive those interest payments on that because they have cost us loss of life and livelihood into the trillions of dollars.”
The bill also seeks to give American citizens right of action to sue the Chinese government in federal court.
“So they can file a lawsuit and seek compensation for the bodily injury, sickness, loss of business that they have felt because of COVID-19,” says Blackburn.
Sen. Blackburn represents Tennessee on President Donald Trump’s task force to reopen the country’s economy. Blackburn is working on legislation that says part of American recovery is bringing businesses back to the U.S.
“When you look at our supply chain whether its pharmaceuticals, technology, telecommunications, or PPE, most of that has been manufactured in China. That limits our access. What we need to do is bring that manufacturing back stateside. There will be incentives, but also this is the time for regulatory relief,” says Blackburn.
She also hopes Congress can reach a deal that will expand the federal relief package to include more money for small businesses in crisis. Tuesday, the Senate passed a $484 billion dollar relief fund that includes billions of dollars for small business loans and will supplement the depleted paycheck protection program.
“The one area that needs additional help is our small businesses. Those businesses, we need another 250 billion dollars to go out to them so they are able to keep their employees on the payroll. We are trying to get the democrats to work with us on that.”
Blackburn said she supports Governor Bill Lee’s decision to start the gradual reopening of Tennessee businesses beginning May 1.
In talks with the President, Blackburn said he wants to leave the decision on when and how to reopen state’s businesses up to the governors and mayors.