WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) introduced bipartisan legislation to rebuild the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen domestic PPE manufacturing to ensure the United States is better prepared for future public health emergencies.When the COVID-19 pandemic began in the U.S., health care workers were given expired and outdated equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile and the lack of critical medical supplies across the existing domestic supply chain forced the United States to rely on China and other nations for the manufacture of this equipment, making it more difficult for the United States to respond. The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 would incentivize manufacturers of critical supplies to strength supply chains and establish domestic reserves of critical medical supplies for future public health emergencies.
“When the COVID-19 outbreak began, the Chinese government’s effort to cover up the severity of COVID-19 while stockpiling critical medical supplies hindered the United States’ ability to respond to the pandemic and made clear that our country is far too reliant on foreign nations to deal with future pandemics,” said Senator Tillis. “The bipartisan Medical Supplies for Pandemic Act will make much-needed reforms to strengthen our ability to respond to future disasters and provide frontline workers the resources they need during public health emergencies.” “We must improve our public health infrastructure based on lessons learned from this COVID-19 pandemic and ensure the Strategic National Stockpile is well equipped to support a response to a large-scale crisis,” said Senator Bennet. “This bipartisan bill will help us ramp up America’s manufacturing and distribution of critical supplies like Personal Protective Equipment so we are better prepared for the next national emergency and not beholden to countries like China.” “The coronavirus pandemic exposed risks in not maintaining a stronger U.S.-based infrastructure for critical medical supplies,” Senator Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation would establish a framework to improve and renew the Strategic National Stockpile so that the health and wellbeing of Americans isn’t unfairly jeopardized by bad actors like China.”
Specifically, the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2023 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program to:
- Create incentives for the domestic manufacturer of medical supplies to enhance supply chain elasticity;
- Establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests; and
- Work with distributors of medical supplies to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile by refreshing and replenishing supply stocks.