Northeast Indiana's congressman wants China to pay for U.S. costs associated with the novel coronavirus.
Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, said Monday night on Fox News that China's government should forgive U.S. debt and face trade tariffs for its role in the global spread of the virus known as COVID-19. He has made similar comments on Twitter recently, writing Saturday that China "should be footing most of the bill" because it is "largely responsible" for the outbreak.
COVID-19 is believed to have originated in December at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Chinese leaders have been widely criticized for initially understating the severity of the outbreak and for trying to muzzle medical officials.
President Donald Trump "could force China to relieve a great amount of American debt. He could institute tariffs on China and designate the funds from that into a coronavirus victim relief fund to pay the cost incurred on Americans and American taxpayers due to the negligence on China's behalf that's led to the crisis in America today," Banks said on Tucker Carlson's talk show on Fox News.
China owns more than $1 trillion in American debt in the form of Treasury bills, notes and bonds.
Banks said that "there's an opportunity, an avenue and I believe an appetite to go after China to make them pay even further costs" in future trade agreements.
"I have no doubt that President Trump will do everything that he can to hold China accountable for what they've caused on Americans today," Banks told Carlson, whose son works for Banks' staff in Washington.