Walorski, Dingell Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Strategic National Stockpile, Domestic Manufacturing for Improved Pandemic Preparedness

Friday, April 17, 2020

Walorski, Dingell Introduce Legislation to Strengthen Strategic National Stockpile, Domestic Manufacturing for Improved Pandemic Preparedness

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) today introduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020, which would strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile to improve the federal ability to respond to future disasters and pandemics. These include enhancing medical supply chain elasticity, improving the domestic production of personal protective equipment, and partnering with industry to refresh and replenish existing stocks of medical supplies.

“Health care workers on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus are risking their lives to care for patients and protect our communities,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “As we work to ensure they have the medical supplies and personal protective equipment they need, we also need to plan for future disasters by modernizing and strengthening the Strategic National Stockpile. This bipartisan legislation will leave us better prepared to avoid shortages of critical supplies and ensure a reliable domestic reserve of lifesaving medical equipment is available for the next crisis.”

“Modernizing the Strategic National Stockpile and our medical supply chain is key to ensuring that frontline health care workers and first responders are never again left without adequate supplies of personal protective equipment,” said Dingell. “These much-needed reforms will strengthen domestic manufacturing of critical medical supplies like N95 masks while allowing increased flexibility to quickly scale up production of lifesaving equipment during emergencies.”

BACKGROUND

Workers during the COVID-19 pandemic were given expired and outdated equipment from the Strategic National Stockpile. This, along with 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 to public health emergencies.

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.

These reforms would strengthen the ability to respond to future disasters and provide frontline workers the resources they need during public health emergencies.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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