WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08) introduced the bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act to improve the Strategic National Stockpile, which is maintained by the federal government to ensure access to critical medical supplies during public health emergencies. This bipartisan bill reduces America’s dependence on foreign adversaries like China, boosts domestic manufacturing of medical supplies, and improves transparency to ensure the effectiveness of the strategic national stockpile during future public health emergencies.
“COVID-19 showed the danger of our nation’s dependence on China and other foreign countries for life-saving supplies,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile by producing these supplies at home which creates jobs and bolsters our independence.”
“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was immediately clear that our country was unprepared to meet the magnitude of the crisis. For instance, in New Hampshire, medical professionals were unable to acquire the supplies that they needed to safely care for their patients, and in some cases were given defective supplies,” said Senator Hassan. “This failure must never happen again, which is why I am glad to introduced this important, bipartisan bill to help ensure that our country has the critical supplies that it needs in the event of another emergency. Our bill will make long overdue improvements to the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen domestic manufacturing to help create jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign countries for PPE, ventilators, and other necessary supplies that keep Americans and Granite Staters safe.”
“Last spring as cases of COVID-19 surged across the country, our frontline medical workers were sent into combat against a deadly virus without the armor they needed to protect themselves. 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 can never again let our country be dependent on foreign suppliers for the equipment we need when crises like this pandemic strike. This bipartisan package of bills addresses the lessons of the past year: it will boost domestic production of critical medical supplies; reduce our dependence on foreign manufacturers; give our frontline workers the protection they need for future crises; and improve maintenance and oversight of our stockpile,” said Rep. Slotkin.
The bipartisan Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act would:
- Increase manufacturing of critical medical supplies in America and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign adversaries;
- Improve maintenance of the stockpile to ensure stockpile items are in good working order when a crisis hits;
- Provide more federal resources to states to expand or maintain their own strategic stockpiles of medical supplies;
- Bring transparency to stockpile allocations by requiring a report to Congress on all requests for stockpile supplies during the pandemic and the response to each request.
Cassidy has introduced two other bills to address issues with the Strategic National Stockpile and improve U.S. supply chains for critical medical supplies. Earlier this year, Cassidy introduced the Protecting Providers Everywhere (PPE) in America Act to address shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing supplies and the Onshoring Essential Antibiotics Act to improve U.S. supply chains for critical antibiotics.