MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The mass shortage of everything in the United States from semiconductors to medical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic led many to reassess the country’s dependence on countries like China. U.S. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, told Alabama Daily News that reducing foreign dependency was among his top legislative priorities this year.
In a one-on-one interview, Moore laid out his top priorities for 2023, among which included increasing domestic manufacturing in the United States, investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci for his performance in the pandemic, instituting more oversight for funding Ukraine in the ongoing war there and protecting programs like Medicare and Social Security.
Regarding Fauci, Republicans have increased calls to investigate the former White House chief medical advisor for his guidance during the pandemic, as well as for his alleged knowledge of the potential origins of the virus.
Currently, there are no conclusive reports on the origin of COVID-19. Initially, reports suggested a zoonotic origin to be the most likely source, however, more recent evidence has suggested the virus may have leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China.
Those who believe in what’s referred to as the ‘lab leak theory’ for the origin of COVID-19 point to gain-of-function research in which a virus or organism is genetically modified to alter its transmissibility – was being conducted at the Wuhan lab.
As the former leader of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a government agency that grants funding for gain-of-function research, Republicans have also highlighted Fauci’s alleged role in potentially funding research that could have led to the pandemic.
Q&A with U.S. Rep. Barry Moore *questions have been paraphrased
Q: What are some of your biggest legislative priorities for 2023?
“Well, (being) on the (House) Agriculture Committee, every five years we have to pass the Farm Bill, So that’s gonna be a priority because we’re the second largest peanut producing district in the country. So we’ve got to get a good agricultural bill that shores up our farmers because we’ve got to have food security.
With inflation, fuel, fertilizer (prices have) really made it tough (on farmers), so we’ve got to get some parameters in place to make sure those guys can roll the dice, put the seed in the ground and make sure (prices are) not going back up every season.
I think (the pandemic) opened our eyes to dependence on foreign countries.
I think we realized too in so many ways that a lot of the first tier suppliers on health care were coming from China, some of our basic stuff, and so we’ve got to get production back in this country so (that) as a nation, we’re never hamstrung.
I think one of the things to COVID (revealed) from an agricultural standpoint is (was the importance of) broadband. We realized just how bad broadband was in rural areas because kids were locked out of schools, they couldn’t do their homework, they had to go to the public library, if the library was even open.
So we began to realize so there’s a lot of things that COVID taught us from an agricultural perspective, from a food security perspective and from a national security perspective.”
Q: You’ve introduced a bill encouraging more domestic energy production, could you speak more to that?
“What Biden’s energy policy initially was, was first thing they did was shut down the Keystone Pipeline day one, and then he asked (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to increase production. So that makes us dependent on people across the sea who may or may not be our friends at some point in time.
… When I was in Ukraine before they invaded, the Ukrainian parliament told me they were really concerned about the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and what it might do to bolster Putin’s ability to make war to control energy, to pocket the money.
And so their parliament was concerned then, and then we want to buy our solar panels from China; we’ve got domestic energy here. Solar and wind have a place in future energy production, but moving too fast ahead of the science, ahead of the technology and saying we’re gonna just totally do away with fossil fuels, put them dependent on Russia too.”
Q: As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, you’ve previously voiced an interest in investigating Dr. Anthony Fauci’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic. What sort of outcome would you like to see from such an investigation?
“Depending on the level (of involvement), I think that he needs to be prosecuted; you’ve got to set examples.
When you’ve got bureaucrats that come in there and endanger American lives, and then lie to the Senate, lie to the House under oath… the economic damage, the personal damage, the damage done to students, the years of education we’ve lost, our kids are so far behind right now.
There is so much that that man has done in the country that I think we need to look at every avenue we can to hold them accountable because if there is no accountability, then there’s no change in direction.
If we let them get away with it, there’s no accountability, and I think you have to hold people accountable. And my gosh, the humanity that’s been destroyed because of what this man did… if he funded that gain of function (research that led to the pandemic), then there’s some accountability that needs to be held.
I think (gain of function research) is something we’ve got to look at limiting, or at least we need to know what we’re doing and we need to do it in the country (where) we’d be able to monitor the lab that’s doing that, and I don’t know even then if I’d want a toy with it.”
Q: With more than $113 billion in aid to Ukraine approved by President Joe Biden in 2022, where do you stand on continuing that financial support?
“I didn’t think we’d be sending jets and (now) we’re talking about that. So initially, I thought we needed to stand with Ukraine and help them secure their border; that made sense because they were being invaded. But we’re at a point of $111 billion, (and) to put that in perspective, when President (Donald) Trump asked for $5 billion to secure the southern border, everybody (said) that’s too much money.
We’re at $111 billion of U.S. taxpayer money that has been spent over there, and I’ve got to look at the American taxpayer and say, what is our return on that investment if we’re making that kind of investment? We need oversight because (Ukraine) is a young democracy, a young democracy now flush with American taxpayer capital.
It starts bleeding out (too) into oligarchs and special interests and it may or may not be used in the areas that are necessary or appropriate, and so I worry about some of these weapons falling into some of our enemy’s hands.
So at this point, I’m a no-vote on any more money until we get some oversight. No more endless wars, no more endless taxpayer funded proxy wars, whatever you wanna call it.”
Q: There is a split within the Republican Party in regards to altering programs like Social Security or Medicare. Where do you land on the idea of altering those programs?
“We don’t need to adjust anything except how we waste money in (Washington), D.C.; the Medicare people and the Social Security people pay that money in and that’s their money. It’s like the VA, it’s their money.
I’ve got a lady out here on Social Security who’s just barely getting by. She worked her whole life, she’s going to live maybe another ten years, and she paid in (to Social Security) for 50 years, working a job. We took that money out, guaranteed it’d be there for her when she needed it.
… There’s a ton of room. It’s just a matter of us stepping up and doing the right thing for the American people rather than everybody else around the globe.”