WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, today announced that he is an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act, legislation aimed at reducing America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical medical supplies the country needs to fight COVID-19, boosting domestic manufacturing to make those supplies here in America, and making much-needed improvements and updates to America’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
The legislation was introduced by Upton’s Problem Solvers Caucus colleague, Elissa Slotkin (MI-08). The bill is cosponsored by nine Republicans and nine Democrats and is expected to be considered in the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.
"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,” Upton said. “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."
"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. 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 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.
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.
U.S. 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), Darren Soto (D-FL), 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 original co-sponsors on the bill.