Legislation from Rep. Elissa Slotkin was included in Congress’ latest coronavirus relief bill, which aims to reduce American dependence on foreign sources for medical supplies and equipment.
The legislation also works to ensure the U.S never enters a public health crisis unprepared again.
“Our early experience with COVID-19 makes clear that we must take a strategic, national-security approach to our medical supply chain, to ensure that our frontline healthcare workers have the personal protective equipment they need –– and that as a nation, we are not dependent on foreign suppliers and foreign governments to protect the American people,” Slotkin said in a statement.
Six of Slotkin’s bills were included in the Heroes Act, which has passed the House and is waiting on consideration from the Senate. The bills would require a federal official to oversee the national stockpile of medical supplies, in part to ensure states aren’t competing against one another. It would also require transparency from HHS on how goods are distributed, and order that the national stockpile of medical supplies be maintained properly.
“Many of us in Congress spent the first weeks of the COVID-19 crisis in agonizing pursuit of masks, gloves, test kits and other urgently needed supplies, only to find that our hospitals and health care workers are at the mercy of overseas manufacturers and global supply chains,” Slotkin said in a previous statement. “It is unacceptable for American lives to depend on offshore manufacturers in a crisis. Our country can never again ask our medical professionals and first responders to go into a fight like this unarmed, or dependent on foreign sources for their protection.”
Slotkin explained that she would not ordinarily support congressional management of the executive branch’s emergency responsibilities, but without executive action the country risks another medical crisis.
“Leaving the states to fend for themselves as they have over the last two months is simply unacceptable. America’s manufacturers and workforce are ready to rise to this challenge,” she said.