Soto Joins Major, Bipartisan Package to Overhaul National Stockpile, Make More Critical Supplies In America

July 15, 2020
Press Release
9 Democrats and 9 Republicans join Slotkin on bill to boost domestic manufacturing of critical supplies to fight COVID-19, protect our medical supply chain as a matter of national security

WASHINGTON –– Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09) joined Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in introducing the Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act, a major bipartisan package the House will consider to begin reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical medical supplies the country needs to fight COVID-19, boost domestic manufacturing to make those supplies here in America, and make much-needed improvements and updates to America’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). It is expected to be considered in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Earl L. Buddy Carter (R-GA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Diana DeGette (D-CO), David McKinley (R-WV), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Fred Upton (R-MI), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Kim Schier (D-WA), Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Gil Cisneros (D-CA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Michael Burgess (R-TX), are also original co-sponsors on the bill.

"Our frontline medical providers have been in combat against a deadly virus without the armor they need to protect themselves,” Slotkin said. “When Michigan and other states called on the Strategic National Stockpile for urgently needed masks, gloves and other protective gear, what we got was nowhere close to what we needed. We should never again be dependent on foreign suppliers for equipment we need to keep Americans safe in a crisis."

"It’s simple: this bipartisan package will ensure more critical medical supplies are made here in America,” Slotkin continued. “It will reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers by boosting domestic production of critical supplies. It will improve our ability to protect our frontline workers, to respond to this and future public health crises. It will strengthen maintenance and oversight of the stockpile, and give us a comprehensive account of what states have asked for and what they received from the stockpile. And it will do so in a bipartisan fashion, because this virus doesn’t pay attention to party politics and neither should we."

The bill includes provisions originally introduced as part of Slotkin’s Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative, as well as other bipartisan provisions led by Reps. Debbie Dingell, Susan Brooks, Anna Eshoo, Jeff Van Drew, Jackie Walorski, Buddy Carter, Tom O’Halleran, and David McKinley to boost domestic manufacturing of our medical supplies as a matter of national security. Slotkin unveiled her Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative after weeks of working with district health care providers to find sources for those desperately needed medical supplies. Michigan experienced dire shortages of personal protective equipment, encountered difficulty in accessing personal protective equipment (PPE) from the SNS, or received supplies that were expired, putting front-line providers at risk. As cases are rising in other states, they are now reporting their own shortages.

"The coronavirus pandemic has inevitably shown us the importance of having emergency stockpiles while limiting our dependence on foreign supply chains,” said Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL). “Moving forward, the modernization of the Strategic National Stockpile Act is critical to strengthening the production of resources needed to protect frontline health workers while implementing an improved, transparent process for the use and distribution of emergency supplies. Together we can ensure the catastrophic shortages that occurred earlier this year never happen again." 

"The coronavirus crisis has shined a light on cracks in our society and economic foundations,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). “Cracks in the supply chain and decades of weakening domestic manufacturing left us unable to respond in a quick and efficient manner. We must address issues with the Strategic National Stockpile. My bipartisan legislation will enhance medical supply chain manufacturing domestically and improve our national security."

"In a global health crisis, there is so much uncertainty, but one thing should always be certain - hospitals, medical providers, and first responders must have the PPE and other medical equipment they need to protect themselves and others,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). “This bipartisan initiative to strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile is common sense and would ensure that we will be able to get life-saving care into the right hands at the right time. I’m proud to be an original co-sponsor and would encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this legislation."

"This unprecedented pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of our Strategic National Stockpile and illustrated why we need to expand its mandate to include response to disasters with long-term, sustained demand like COVID-19,” said Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN). “Over the past several months, we have worked tirelessly on behalf of the American people to look for ways to make some of these reforms. We’ve communicated directly with stakeholders involved in the stockpile to find ways to increase its effectiveness and sustainability. This bipartisan legislation will help restore our nation’s faith in the stockpile and ensure that we protect all Americans from any disaster in the future."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the shortcomings of the Strategic National Stockpile to adequately provide states and localities across our nation with critical personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other supplies desperately needed to care for our communities and keep our health care providers and essential workers safe,” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). “In light of these shortcomings, we must have dedicated oversight and forward looking assessments of this vital inventory to ensure that we will never again be unprepared to react to any emergency situation we encounter. I’m proud to join Representative Slotkin and my colleagues in introducing the Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act to provide greater transparency and accountability to this system that so many Americans are relying on."

"As our country continues to fight the coronavirus, it’s more important now than ever that we replenish and strengthen our Strategic National Stockpile. The coronavirus pandemic has left us ill prepared to deal with the growing cases and future crises,” said Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-CA). “I’m proud to join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in fixing this glaring issue. The bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act makes important improvements and investments to ensure we have the PPE and medical supplies our country and states need."

"By adding more transparency and accountability to the Strategic National Stockpile, we will be able to deliver more targeted supplies to states, tribes, and territories that are most in need,” said Rep. David McKinley (R-WV).

"If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything it is that our country must make bold investments in and modernize our public health infrastructure,” said Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC). “The Strategic National Stockpile is a critical component of our public health defense and it must be equipped and ready to handle any public health crisis. The transparency and accountability provisions and pilot programs in the Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act will help ensure that the Strategic National Stockpile is an effective tool in combating the COVID-19 crisis and any other crises to come."

"The primary purpose of the Strategic National Stockpile has been to maintain readiness to respond to a wide variety of threats, particularly biological, chemical and nuclear,” said Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-TX). “It is expeditiously important for us to consider bipartisan legislation to strengthen the SNS so that it can more effectively assist state and local partners in the ongoing response to the pandemic, as well as future public health emergencies."

"The Strategic National Stockpile is meant to be our national safety net during a crisis. The scope of this pandemic has shown some real deficiencies in our SNS, such that we didn’t have enough equipment on hand - like N95 masks and ventilators - to protect frontline workers and keep our communities safe,” said Rep. Kim Schrier (D-WA). “We will have ongoing needs for this essential equipment for many more months of this pandemic, and it is important to open up all avenues to build and secure our stockpile, and get supplies out to states. We will experience pandemics and other natural disasters again. We  need to fortify the stockpile to be prepared for another crisis of this magnitude."

"The COVID-19 crisis has exposed glaring weaknesses in our country’s pandemic response preparedness, including our failure to maintain a sufficient national PPE stockpile,” said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). “This bill will ensure that when the next pandemic hits, our country will have the resources necessary to respond quickly and efficiently."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of personal protective equipment and the Strategic National Stockpile,” said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC). As part of my commitment to getting our community and country needed resources, I’m proud to help co-sponsor the Strengthening America’s National Stockpile Act. This legislation will deliver critical investments in our ability to respond to and prepare for public health crises like COVID-19."

"Health care workers on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus risk their lives to care for patients and protect our communities,” said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN). “This bipartisan legislation is a major step toward ensuring they have access to the personal protective equipment they need to keep themselves and others safe. It also includes my bill with Congresswoman Dingell to modernize the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen domestic manufacturing of PPE so our country is better prepared for the next public health crisis."

"We must ensure the Strategic National Stockpile has more efficient management, rotates supplies and sells off items before they lose their effectiveness, and is restocked so it’s prepared for further demands,” said Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT). “Our bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act provides a critical step toward those goals so the federal government can respond quickly and fully to public health emergencies."

The Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act combines several bipartisan bills previously introduced to spur domestic manufacturing and strengthen the stockpile, a repository of critical supplies and medicines maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to respond to public health emergencies. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the stockpile has been unable to fulfill urgent needs in the states for personal protective equipment, ventilators and other supplies to fight the pandemic, failing to fulfill requests for supplies or providing expired our outdated items.


The legislation introduced today will, if enacted:

  • Make sure stockpile items are in good working order and ready to use if and when a crisis hits. Will ensure items in the stockpile are in good working order and aren’t expired by requiring regular maintenance.
     
  • Increase manufacturing of critical supplies in America. Will boost domestic production of critical supplies by establishing a $500 million pilot program to diversify sources of personal protective equipment and partnering with industry to replenish existing stocks. 
     
  • Improve stockpile financial security and reduce waste by allowing the transfer of stockpile items nearing their expiration dates to other federal agencies.
     
  • Bring transparency to past stockpile allocations. Will require the administration to report to Congress on all state, local, tribal and territorial requests for stockpile supplies during the pandemic and the response to each request.
     
  • Bring transparency to process for stockpile allocations. Will require development of improved, transparent processes for distribution of goods from the stockpile and provide the states with clear, transparent guidelines on how to request distributions from the stockpile.
     
  • Take steps to return money to taxpayers when companies profit off of SNS products. Will explore the possibility of further strengthening the stockpile financially by requiring a Government Accountability Office study on implementing a user fee to reimburse the stockpile for items such as antitoxins, for which it is the sole provider and for which health care providers or others may charge patients. 
     
  • Support states’ readiness in a public health emergency. Will establish a pilot program to support state efforts to expand and maintain their own stockpiles.
     
  • Put more resources behind the SNS. This legislation will also provide increased resources for the stockpile by raising annual authorized funding for its operations from $610 million to $705 million for fiscal years 2020 through 2023.

Several provisions from Slotkin’s Made in America Medical Supply Chain Initiative were also included in the HEROES Act, which passed the House in May. Slotkin also succeeded in securing provisions related to the initiative into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 reported by the House Armed Services Committee last month.


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