Rep. Elissa Slotkin introduced legislation that would require the president to use the full power of the Defense Production Act to create a federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this time with a focus on getting states the testing supplies they need to reopen the economy.
Her new bill would make it easier for the president to call on businesses to manufacture necessary goods to combat COVID-19. It also creates a framework for the federal government to get supplies and equipment quickly distributed to the states that need them most. And it would bring oversight and transparency to the medical equipment supply chain. Slotkin’s legislation is the House companion to a similar bill in the Senate.
“On the heels of fighting to get protective equipment to our frontline medical workers, states like Michigan must now scramble to build the testing capacity we need to safely reopen sectors of our economy,” Slotkin said in a statement.
“There is a role for the Administration to play in accelerating the flow of those supplies –– and making sure they get to areas of greatest need. I would not ordinarily advocate for legislation telling the executive branch how to manage a crisis, but I cannot ignore the outcry from my district and my state. We need federal action now, and if the President will not use his authorities, I will do everything I can to push him to act.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic Slotkin has advocated for a federal “medical supply czar,” a person who would oversee the acquisition of medical equipment and help with distribution so that states are not forced to fight amongst themselves for critical equipment.
Leaders across the nation have been unimpressed with the nation’s early response to the coronavirus, which was plagued by equipment shortages and lack of funding. Health officials have warned that the nation could experience a second wave of cases in the fall but some are hopeful that new legislation and organization could mitigate the danger and reduce fatalities.