Pingree Cosponsors Legislation Requiring Federal Government to Take Over Medical Supply Chain
Portland, Maine, March 24, 2020
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today joined Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) in introducing the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act. The bill forces President Trump to implement the Defense Production Act and better coordinate the manufacturing and distribution of scarce, in-demand medical supplies.
“Health care workers and first responders are courageously putting themselves on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic,” “The president needs to step up and protect them. We don’t have any time to waste—supplies are already low and need is increasing significantly every day. Federal oversight of the supply chain for items like gloves and masks will secure and coordinate manufacturing and ensure a healthier, better protected front line workforce that will be able to fight this pandemic.”
To prevent thousands of hospitals across the nation from competing with each other for medical supplies, the Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act would require the president to use the authorities of the Defense Production Act to require emergency production of medical equipment to address the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, the bill would require President Trump to identify private sector capacity to help provide no fewer than 500,000,000 N95 respirators; 200,000 medical ventilators; 20,000,000 face shields; 500,000,000 pairs of gloves; and 20,000,000 surgical gowns in addition to other medical equipment deemed necessary.
The legislation would also require the administration to direct the distribution of these supplies, to end the unnecessary competition between states and health care institutions for these increasingly scarce resources. The Defense Production Act of 1950 confers upon the president a broad set of authorities to influence domestic industries in the interest of national defense. The authorities can be used across the federal government to shape the domestic industrial base so that it is capable of providing essential materials and goods needed for national defense.
Pingree previously called for President Trump to enact the Defense Production Act; she joined 57 House colleagues in writing to the president on March 13, urging him to invoke his authority to increase production. Pingree’s work on coronavirus can be found atpingree.house.gov/coronavirus.