Walorski, Dingell Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing of Critical Medical Supplies

Monday, May 24, 2021

Walorski, Dingell Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen American Manufacturing of Critical Medical Supplies

Legislation Would Improve Strategic National Stockpile, Boost Domestic Manufacturing for Improved Pandemic Preparedness

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) today reintroduced the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2021, which would reform and strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile to improve the federal ability to respond to future disasters and pandemics. The bill would enhance medical supply chain elasticity, create incentives to geographically diversify production of personal protective equipment, and refresh and replenish existing stocks of medical supplies in partnership with industry.

“One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 crisis has been the need to break our dependence on China for the production of critical medical supplies,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Throughout the pandemic, I saw firsthand the obstacles health care workers and first responders faced in obtaining quality personal protective equipment to keep themselves and others safe. To better prepare for the next crisis, we need to strengthen U.S. manufacturing of PPE and ensure we have a robust Strategic National Stockpile. Our bipartisan bill would incentivize production of critical medical items here in America so we can maintain a reliable reserve of lifesaving supplies.”

“During the COVID-19 public health crisis, our frontline healthcare workers have been forced to rely on deficient equipment from overseas manufacturers or expired equipment in the existing Strategic National Stockpile,” Congresswoman Dingell said. “The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act will improve our ability to quickly scale up manufacturing of critical medical supplies and personal protective equipment while modernizing the SNS, providing America’s frontline workers the resources they need to respond to future public health emergencies.”

“Medical products distributors have the infrastructure and expertise to help the Federal government improve our nation’s preparedness for future health emergencies,” said Matthew J. Rowan, President & CEO of the Health Industry Distributors Association. “Representatives Dingell and Walorski are showing true bipartisan leadership by proposing to expand the use of public-private partnerships to strengthen the stockpiling and distribution of critical supplies.”

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 2021 (H.R. 3463) would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2024 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program to:

  • Create incentives to geographically diversify production of medical supplies;
  • Establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies like personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests;
  • 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.

The full text of the legislation is available here.

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

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