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GOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic'

Rep. Mike GallagherMichael (Mike) John GallagherBiden budget includes 0M to help agencies recover from SolarWinds hack in proposed budget GOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' Lawmakers introduce bill to protect critical infrastructure against cyberattacks MORE (R-Wis.) called for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, pointing to the "Wuhan lab" hypothesis that has gained steam among right-wing media groups and politicians.

While appearing on Hill.TV's "Rising," host Saagar Enjeti asked Gallagher for his reaction to the recent spat between Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulFauci to Chelsea Clinton: The 'phenomenal amount of hostility' I face is 'astounding' GOP's attacks on Fauci at center of pandemic message Fox host claims Fauci lied to Congress, calls for prosecution MORE (R-Ky.) and White House chief medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Delta variant's UK dominance sparks concerns in US Overnight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic MORE, who clashed this week over the origins of the novel coronavirus.

"Well I believe at one point Dr. FauciAnthony FauciThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Delta variant's UK dominance sparks concerns in US Overnight Health Care: FDA says millions of J&J doses from troubled plant must be thrown out | WHO warns Africa falling far behind in vaccinations | Top CDC official says US not ready for next pandemic MORE said something to the effect of I haven't publicly advocated for 'gain of function' research. I think that's a lie," Gallagher said, pointing to a Washington Post op-ed from 2011 that Fauci wrote with virologist Gary Nabel and National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins.

In the piece, the authors wrote that benefits could be gained from creating a "potentially dangerous virus in the laboratory" in order to better understand and prevent future pandemics like the H191 outbreak that had occurred two years prior.

"I think his testimony was very lawyerly," Gallagher said of Fauci. "I think it raised a lot more questions than it answered and I think the American people just want to know — not to assign blame — want to know what the heck happened, if for no other reason then we want to prevent this from happening again."

"And if we can't get to the origin, we'll never be able to prevent the next pandemic," Gallagher added.

Fauci maintained during the hearing with Paul earlier this week that while NIH did fund a project at the lab in Wuhan, China, it was not intended for "gain of function" research into human-made superviruses.