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Pingree Joins 57 House Members to Urge Trump to Invoke Defense Production Act, Increase Availability of Medical Supplies

Washington, March 17, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) has joined 57 of her House colleagues in urging President Trump to invoke his authority under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to increase the production of vital medical supplies for health care workers. Demand has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. Health care providers in Maine have expressed concern about access to supplies. Without action, frontline health care workers may be left without access to sufficient proper protective gear.

“During World War II, our country adapted to the demands of the time to produce mass quantities of bombers, tanks, and many small items needed to save democracy and freedom in the world. We know what the demands of this time are, and we must act now to meet these demands. We urge you to invoke the Defense Production Act without delay,” the lawmakers wrote.

Text of the full letter can be found here .

The need for supplies to properly address the pandemic is acute. According to the CDC, “manufacturers of select types of [personal protective equipment] are reporting increased volume of orders and challenges in meeting order demands. Specific challenges are being reported for N95 respirators and facemasks.” These manufacturing problems have posed serious challenges for health care providers. The CDC has reported that “some healthcare systems have begun reporting that orders for N95 respirators and facemasks are not being filled or are only being partially filled by distributors”; as such, the CDC is “encouraging healthcare systems to implement strategies to conserve supplies.’ We are extremely concerned that such “strategies” could force frontline health care workers to use protective equipment improperly, or go without it altogether.

Two weeks ago, with Pingree’s support, Congress passed H.R. 6074, an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus funding bill. Maine will receive a minimum of $4.6 million dollars in CDC Public Health Emergency Preparedness funds through this funding bill. Pingree also held a telephone town hall on the government’s response to the coronavirus with Maine Center for Disease Control Director Dr. Nirav D. Shah, which was attended by nearly 2,000 constituents.

Pingree’s actions on COVID-19, as well as CDC recommendations, are detailed at pingree.house.gov/coronavirus.

 

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