Washington, D.C. — Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has introduced a bill outlining specific actions that should be taken under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to expedite the procurement of medical equipment and other essential goods to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Despite several conflicting announcements, President Donald Trump has not yet used the full range of authority provided by the DPA. Baldwin’s legislation would require the president to take immediate action under the act in order to quickly increase domestic production of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, for health care workers on the front lines of this pandemic.
In response, Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
This bill to expedite the procurement of equipment to combat COVID-19 represents a significant step toward ensuring that U.S. hospitals and health care providers have the equipment they need while they serve on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.
The bill goes a long way toward using the tools we have to manage a more effective response. It requires a comprehensive geographic assessment of essential equipment needs, domestic production capacity, and stockpile inventories. These assessments should have been done weeks ago, but under President Trump’s poor leadership, they have not yet been conducted. The bill also requires the immediate and expedited purchase order for 300 million desperately needed N95 masks, which would offer assurance for our health care workers that the president has failed to provide. It also waives notice requirements and purchase order limits to ensure the fastest possible delivery of goods to those who need them.
Thanks to the leadership of progressive lawmakers in Congress, this bill puts public health needs first and brings us closer to having an effective national response to this public health crisis.
To find the latest CAP resources on the coronavirus, visit our coronavirus resource page.
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