Tuberville to Biden: Ban Travel from China to Prevent Mystery Illness Spread

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues in sending a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to restrict travel between the U.S. and China until U.S. health experts have more information regarding the mysterious respiratory disease that is rapidly spreading throughout China.

“[W]e should not wait for the WHO to take action given its track record of slavish deference to the [Chinese Communist Party],” the senators wrote.“We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans, and our economy. That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and the [People’s Republic of China] until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness. A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later.”

Joining Coach and Senator Rubio on the letter were Senators J.D. Vance (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Mike Braun (R-IN).

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Mr. President:

In light of an unknown respiratory illness spreading throughout the People’s Republic of China (PRC), we call on you to immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC. As you know, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long history of lying about public health crises. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCP’s obfuscation of the truth, and lack of transparency, robbed the United States of vital knowledge about the disease and its origin. 

On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued an order to restrict travel from the PRC into the United States to protect the American people and counter the spread of COVID-19. Many officials and commentators—including you—criticized his decision as being influenced by “xenophobia.” But history and common sense show his decision was the right one.  

At this moment, the world faces another unknown pathogen emanating from the PRC that could spread to other countries, including the United States. The PRC has reported an increase in this mystery illness—which it claims to be pneumonia caused by known pathogens—since mid-October. This illness reportedly is a special hazard for children and has overrun hospitals in the north of the country. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is unclear if the disease is due to an overall increase in respiratory infections or separate events. If history is any indication, we have cause to be concerned. 

The WHO has requested that the CCP share “detailed information” about the mystery illness. However, CCP has an incentive to lie, just as they did throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and any new pathogen could derail its efforts to stimulate its economy. Besides, we should not wait for the WHO to take action given its track record of slavish deference to the CCP. We must take the necessary steps to protect the health of Americans, and our economy. That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and the PRC until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness. A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.   


Since assuming office in the U.S. Senate in 2021, Senator Tuberville has led and supported numerous efforts to protect American resources, farmland, schools, investments, intellectual property, and national security from the growing threat of Communist China. Senator Tuberville believes the United States must face China’s growing military and non-military threats with clear-eyed resolve as China attempts to overtake the United States as the top global superpower.

Economic Security, Investments, and Intellectual Property

  • To curb Chinese influence in the economy, Senator Tuberville introduced legislation to ban members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) from receiving B-1 and B-2 visas to the United States for vacation and non-official government business.
    • The CCP is responsible for trillions of dollars of intellectual property theft each year. To curb growing foreign influence and crime and discourage other Chinese nationals from joining the CCP, the bill cosponsored by Senator Tuberville would bar all 93 million CCP members from entering the United States using nonimmigrant B-1 and B-2 visas.
  • Senator Tuberville believes the retirement savings of our military and federal government employees, known as the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), should not be invested in the economies of our adversaries, such as China.
    • Senator Tuberville wrote about this issue in the Wall Street Journal in a column entitled, “I’ll Keep Veterans’ Pensions Safe From Communism” and discussed the issue on Fox Business.
    • Senator Tuberville continued the push for accountability from the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) surrounding the board’s policy on foreign investments. 
    • Senator Tuberville placed a hold on nominees to the FRTIB until the nominees provided clarification regarding foreign investment policies, which forced the nominees to commit to opposing TSP investment in China.
  • Senator Tuberville led the call for an investigation into Webull Financial, LLC and Moomoo, Inc. — two Chinese-owned stock trading apps operating in the United States that are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FIRA).
    • Both apps are widely used by American investors and freely collect and store sensitive information about users, including Social Security numbers, mailing addresses, and sensitive financial account data.
    • In May 2023, Senator Tuberville sent a letter to SEC Chair Gary Gensler and FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook calling for oversight of the trading platforms due to the potential CCP access of American user data. In the letter, Senator Tuberville asked for answers to critical questions about the ability of the SEC and FINRA to examine the Chinese companies’ compliance with American laws.


  • As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee, Senator Tuberville has taken action to protect American schools from being further infiltrated by the Chinese Communist Party.
  • In September, Senator Tuberville joined colleagues to introduce the Safeguarding American Education from Foreign Control Act. 
    • This bill would tighten the enforcement of rules surrounding foreign donations to higher education institutions and their contracts with foreign entities. This is a direct response to efforts by the Chinese Communist party to exert financial influence over American educational institutions and students.
  • In August, Senator Tuberville joined 19 of his Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Education expressing outrage for allowing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to infiltrate U.S. classrooms through Confucius programming.
    • Confucius programming establishes a partnership between schools, universities, or nonprofits and a Chinese government entity. Expansion of Confucius Classrooms in the United States is a top priority for the Chinese government. 
  • In February, Senator Tuberville let Troy University know that future funding opportunities would be in jeopardy if they did not end their Confucius Institute program. Coach was pleased when Troy announced they were closing the program.

Farmland, Agriculture, and Energy

  • In January, Senator Tuberville led a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of 59 lawmakers in introducing the Foreign Adversary Risk Management (FARM) Act to bolster the U.S. agriculture industry’s role on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the governmental body that oversees the vetting process of foreign investment and acquisition of American companies. More information about the FARM Act can be found here.
  • In March, Senator Tuberville joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of colleagues to cosponsor the Protecting America’s Agricultural Land from Foreign Harm Act, which would prohibit the sale of U.S. agricultural land to any individual or entity tied to the governments of Iran, North Korea, China or Russia.
  • Last year, Senator Tuberville introduced the Securing America’s Land from Foreign Interference Act to prohibit members of the Chinese Communist Party from purchasing land in the United States and set minimum penalties for foreign purchases that fail to comply with federal reporting requirements.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.