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Rep. Chris Smith plans congressional hearing on WHO pandemic deal talks

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced Monday that he will soon chair a congressional hearing on negotiations at the World Health Organization (WHO) to adopt a “pandemic accord,” an international legal document that could bind American public health beholden to the United Nations, likely to erode sovereignty.

The WHO is hosting its annual World Health Assembly this week, where it sets a budget and priorities for next year.

The administration of leftist President Joe Biden is present and participating in the negotiations on the pandemic agreement. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra met with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Tuesday; according to Tedros, the two men specifically discussed the pandemic agreement and America’s “critical role in global health security.”

“I urge you to deliver the pandemic agreement on time, as a generational commitment. The next pandemic will not wait for us. We have to be ready,” Tedros told World Health Assembly participants during of his opening speech on Monday.

Tedros has been pushing the world to adopt a pandemic accord – a treaty, pact or other binding international legal document – since at least 2021 after the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic began. A vast “draft”, a preliminary document, was published in February, causing much debate within the WHO. WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response”, or “WHO CA+”.

Biden’s envoy to the negotiations, Pamela Hamamoto, insisted in March that her administration is “committed to the pandemic accord, to form a major component of the global health architecture for generations to come.” , despite disagreements.

Rep. Smith said Monday that congressional hearings on the matter were needed because the Biden administration had not been transparent about what it had “gotten into” to get America into.

“The American people have a right to know exactly what the Biden administration is negotiating at the WHO, especially since the President remains silent and does not assure us that he will protect our Constitution from the bureaucrats of this troubled United Nations body. United,” Rep. Smith said. said. The congressman — who chairs the House Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and therefore has the power to call a hearing — also objected to the details of the draft that he says could erode U.S. sovereignty over its own health care infrastructure.

The hearing, the congressman noted, was necessary because his attempts to question Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the contents of “Project Zero” during a hearing in March yielded no clarity. At the time, Rep. Smith questioned him about specific provisions of the draft that he found alarming.

“The WHO’s draft pandemic treaty begins with very harsh criticism of the United States and the international community as ‘a catastrophic failure of the international community to show solidarity and equity in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. ” Rep. Smith noted. “Article 4 of the treaty pretends to talk about sovereignty, then completely overcomes that talk by saying, ‘provided that activities within their jurisdiction or control do not cause harm to their peoples and to other countries “, which empowers the WHO to step in and prescribe what each country would do.

Rep. Smith also noted that the ‘zero draft’ would require America ‘to provide 20% of our medical supplies – including tests, vaccines, drugs and the like – to the WHO’

Hamamoto, the Biden administration’s pandemic deal envoy, has challenged the WHO’s Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) over the draft’s demands that wealthy nations “carry, the case where appropriate, a proportionate degree of differentiated responsibility” financially and in terms of medical resources, insisting that the project did not bring enough “equity”.

The pandemic agreement would be a separate document from the International Health Regulations (IHR), which the Biden administration successfully lobbied to change at last year’s World Health Assembly to give the WHO greater power over public health emergencies.

File/Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization, (L) shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on January 28, 2020 in Beijing, China. (Naohiko Hatta – Pool/Getty Images)

The amendments allow the Director General to declare epidemics, pandemics and other public health emergencies without having to “consult with and attempt to obtain verification from the State Party in whose territory the event would occur”. Supporters of the amendments argued they were necessary given China’s deliberate lack of transparency and destruction of evidence surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, but opponents noted that the provisions apply to all countries and allow the WHO to override the sovereignty of the governments concerned.

The Biden administration’s moves on the RSI have also heightened concerns about the negotiations around the pandemic deal. In March, Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) introduced a bill to prevent Biden from unilaterally enacting the pandemic accord, declaring the ultimate form of the pandemic accord a “treaty…[ing] with the advice and consent of the Senate, with the agreement of two-thirds of the senators.

“Under no circumstances should the Biden administration surrender American sovereignty to the World Health Organization,” Rep. Smith said Monday, “and allow the voice of the American people and the consent of the governed to be subjugated. to the dictates of an agenda-driven program”. global administrative bureaucracy.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook And Twitter.

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