Washington, D.C. – After hearing from medical professionals across West Virginia about the desperate need for medical supplies and testing, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced two bills to require the full use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to produce these supplies. Both bills would require the President to use his full authority to quickly produce and ensure access to supplies, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), for healthcare professionals and those on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act of 2020 also requires the proportion of the population in a state with a higher risk of developing a serious illness from COVID-19 to be considered in the allocation of medical supplies and equipment.
“West Virginia hospitals and healthcare workers are in dire need of medical supplies like PPEs, masks, gloves, and gowns. Our medical facilities will soon need ventilators and respirators to properly care for West Virginians who contract COVID-19. Today, I introduced two bills to require the full use of the DPA to produce the supplies our nurses, doctors, and first responders desperately need. We must provide those on the front lines with the essential supplies they need to take care of themselves while they care for others,” said Senator Manchin.
The Medical Supply Chain Emergency Act of 2020 would:
- Direct the President to use his authority under the DPA to determine that medical equipment is critical and strategic material, identify private sector capacity, and require the production of at least 500 million N95 respirators, 200,000 medical ventilators, 20 million face shields, 500 million pairs of gloves, and 20 million surgical gowns, in addition to other medical equipment deemed necessary at a fair and reasonable price.
- Direct the President or his designee to coordinate and direct allocation of this equipment, based on requests and need of each governor based on the number of cases of COVID-19 and the proportion of high-risk population in the state.
- Return unused equipment purchased with the Defense Production Act Fund to the stockpile.
The second bill would:
- Immediately require the President to issue a major purchase order for 300 million N95 masks, which will allow industry to begin scaling up production of masks and other PPE materials.
- Require the National Response Coordination Center to conduct a national assessment on current medical supply needs and a follow up major purchase order of equipment, including PPE and ventilators, to fulfill the needs identified in the assessment.
- Waive restrictions on dollar limitations for orders executed under DPA and a 30 day waiting period for orders that exceed $50 million.
Senator Manchin launched an information resources page where West Virginians can learn more about the coronavirus outbreak and how to protect themselves and their families. To learn more please click here.
To receive daily updates from Senator Manchin on the coronavirus outbreak, please click here.