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Sen. Mike Rounds aims to allow Americans to sue China over COVID-19 pandemic

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 3:03 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and other GOP Senators are pushing for legislation to allow Americans to sue China in federal court for “its role in causing the coronavirus pandemic.”

“What we know is that China has to be held accountable for what they have done,” said Rounds. “They were irresponsible, in fact I believe criminally irresponsible, in not sharing with the rest of the world how serious this virus was when it was released in the first place.”  

Rounds says the Civil Justice for Victims of COVID Act would give federal courts the authority to hear claims that China has caused or substantially contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also authorize federal courts to freeze China assets.

Rounds says the legislation is modeled after the 2016 Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) that gave more legal remedies to victims of terrorism, particularly 9/11 victims. 

Rounds says he believes there will be bipartisan support on the legislation, although it is cosponsored by Republicans. The bill is now in committee. 

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