A group of Republican senators have introduced a new piece of legislation that would pave the way for American citizens to sue China for damages based on the Communist Party’s utter failure to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spiraling out of control. The Civil Justice for Victims of COVID-19 Act would strip China of its sovereign immunity from U.S. federal lawsuits and give both states and U.S. citizens the right to hold the nation financially accountable in court.

Sponsored by Sens. Martha McSally (R-AZ), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tom Cotton (R-AK), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Mike Rounds (R-SD), the bill is one of the first major congressional attempts to make China pay for the colossal global damage they caused through their negligent coverup.

“Americans who have been victimized by the lies and deceit of the Chinese Communist Party — to include those who lost loved ones, suffered business losses, or were personally harmed due to COVID-19 — deserve the opportunity to hold China accountable and to demand just compensation,” McSally said in a statement.

“Our bill will empower Americans to do just that by providing them with the legal tools necessary to sue the Chinese government in federal court for creating and worsening the COVID-19 pandemic,” she continued. “As the death toll and financial losses of COVID-19 mount, China should be forced to pay the costs of these damages to the American people.”

This isn’t about the disease having its origins in Wuhan. It’s not about people eating bats. It’s not even necessarily about the possibility of a lab leak – although that would change the game, if it were proven. No, this is about how the Chinese Communist Party responded to the outbreak. This is about how they took every opportunity to lie, downplay, and coverup the truth of the novel coronavirus. This is about how they deliberately misled other world leaders, their geographical neighbors, and even the World Health Organization.

Of course, while it is indisputably the case that the U.S. government should hold China accountable one way or the other, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this bill is a good idea. Stripping a nation of its sovereign immunity could have unforeseen consequences, not the least of which would be a retaliatory law from China or other foreign nations. If we get into a situation where the U.S. loses sovereign immunity in foreign courts, it could be costly and devastating to our nation’s economy.

For that reason alone, this is a course of action that should be carefully thought out before we move forward.