Political agenda: Mr. Comer has pledged for months to investigate Mr. Biden’s family and its business connections. His staff has already obtained the contents of a laptop owned by Hunter Biden, the president’s son, whose business activities are under federal investigation. Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan held a news conference on Capitol Hill detailing their plans to take the inquiry’s focus beyond the younger Mr. Biden. “This is an investigation of Joe Biden,” Mr. Comer has said.
Origins of the Covid Pandemic
What committees are involved: A special subcommittee of the Oversight Committee, and the Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Republican of Washington.
Substantive policy questions: Lawmakers say they want to explore whether the U.S. government should be funding so-called gain-of-function research, a narrow sliver of scientific inquiry that can involve tinkering with viruses in a way that could make them more dangerous. Such research is at the heart of Republican assertions that the pandemic may have been caused by a laboratory leak — a suggestion disputed by scientists whose research shows the outbreak most likely originated at a live animal market in Wuhan, China.
Political agenda: Republicans including Mr. Comer and Mr. Jordan have asserted, without evidence, that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Mr. Biden’s former medical adviser, covered up a lab leak that they allege may have caused the pandemic. They have said repeatedly that they will investigate Dr. Fauci, who is a political target for Republicans seeking to woo Trump voters. Dr. Fauci has said he has a “completely open mind” about whether the outbreak originated in a lab, but that the preponderance of evidence shows it was a natural occurrence.
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What committee is involved: A new select committee focused on the strategic competition between the United States and the Chinese government, led by Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin.
Substantive policy questions: The committee’s purpose is to investigate the Chinese government’s “economic, technological and security progress, and its competition with the United States.” It will examine many topics, including the economic dependence of the United States on Chinese supply chains, the nation’s security assistance to Taiwan and lobbying efforts by the Chinese government to influence local and state government, as well as academic institutions. The panel will then make recommendations for how the United States can avoid being overtaken by China in those areas.
Political agenda: This committee received bipartisan support and is unlikely to become as politically charged as other Republican-led investigations. Still, some Democrats worried that an intense focus on China could lead to xenophobic rhetoric intensifying anti-Asian sentiment in the United States.