Shaheen, Hassan Announce New Legislation to Scale Up Made in America Production of Medical Supplies and Personal Protective Equipment For Hospitals and Health Care WorkersMarch 23, 2020
Plan will Require the Full Use of Defense Production Act
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced new legislation with Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to expedite the procurement of medical equipment, under the Defense Production Act (DPA), to combat the spread of coronavirus. Despite multiple announcements, President Donald Trump has not utilized the federal government’s entire authority under DPA, so Shaheen, Hassan and Baldwin’s legislation would require the President to do so in order to quickly tap into the industrial base to produce and ensure access to supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for health care workers on the frontlines of this pandemic.
“New Hampshire hospitals and health care providers are on the frontlines of this public health emergency and they don’t have the personal protective equipment or medical supplies they need. The foot-dragging and delays from the administration need to stop and they must use every tool available to tap into an industrial base that is ready and willing to deliver the resources our medical community must have to save lives,” said Senator Shaheen. “This new legislation will activate the full authority of the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase production of medical supplies that our health care professionals need to prepare for the surge of patients in the days and weeks ahead. Time is of the essence, which is why Congress needs to step in and compel the Trump administration to follow through on this critical step.”
“Across New Hampshire, health care providers and first responders are pleading for the basic medical supplies that they need to keep themselves and the public safe,” said Senator Hassan. “We have the manufacturing capacity in the United States of America to make masks, swabs, ventilators and other basic supplies, yet for days, President Trump has failed to use the power at his disposal under the Defense Production Act to ramp up production. Enough is enough. Congress needs to pass our legislation to require the administration to actually exercise its authority to get those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic the life-saving supplies that they desperately need.”
Specifically, this legislation will:
- Immediately require a major purchase order for 300 million N95 masks, which will allow industry to begin scaling up production of masks and other PPE materials.
- Require the National Response Coordination Center to conduct a national assessment on current medical supply needs and a follow up major purchase order to fulfill the needs identified in the assessment.
- Waive restrictions on dollar limitations for orders executed under DPA and a 30 day waiting period for orders that exceed $50 million.
- Authorize increased funding for DPA accounts that are being considered for supplemental COVID-19 spending packages.
The full bill text is available here.
On Friday, Shaheen and Hassan sent a letter with New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation to President Trump, urging him to take additional action to swiftly deliver critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment to New Hampshire and states across the country.
Shaheen and Hassan have fought for and voted in favor of two economic response bills to provide financial relief to states in their response efforts, and to support workers, businesses and families impacted by the spread of the coronavirus. The President signed both bills into law. The first economic package led to New Hampshire receiving an initial $4.9 million in funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Shaheen is currently a lead negotiator on a third economic response bill, where she is working around the clock with Senators Rubio (R-FL), Cardin (D-MD) and Collins (R-ME) on provisions to assist small businesses impacted by the coronavirus crisis.
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