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April 09, 2020

Smith, Pallone, & Thompson Urge President Trump to Coordinate Production and Acquisition of COVID-19 Response Supplies

(WASHINGTON) – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) today sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump, to express their concern about the lack of a clear, coordinated strategy to produce and acquire the medical supplies necessary to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis.

“We write with deep concern about the lack of clear coordination to procure and prioritize necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, testing kits, and other critical medical resources to meet the United States’ need amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic,” the Committee leaders wrote to the President. “We understand there are numerous task forces and councils discussing this issue, but want to reiterate the dire need to aggregate our nation’s demand, and your vital role to move quickly in awarding contracts to companies to produce these goods. It is clear that multiple industries along the medical supply and equipment supply chain are willing to assist, and while the Administration has partially invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), now is the time to use every authority available to the federal government, including emergency contracting procedures, to shorten the delivery timeline to American communities in urgent need. The safety and lives of our health care, first responder, and essential workforces are counting on bold actions which meet the magnitude of the crisis.” 

The Committee Chairs continued, “Every day that goes by without the award of targeted contracts increases risk of damage to our nation’s health. Contracts would provide a clear demand signal from the federal government regarding the rapidly growing need to incentivize companies to pivot to producing medical supplies. In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to  accelerate the timeline for issuing contracts under disaster authorities, assess the U.S. demand in light of the use of the Strategic National Stockpile for U.S. response including for the benefit of state response efforts, and allow federal agencies to leverage their assets and industry partners to combat this disease in every way possible. The federal government should be coordinating with states to procure and distribute supplies, not forcing them into a bidding war. With a clear strategy to issue contracts for PPE, ventilators, and testing to identify positive cases and antibodies for those who have had the virus, we can assist the healthcare professionals in dire need. More can be done to leverage industry and researchers’ ability to help curb this pandemic.”

The full letter is available HERE.

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Press Contact

Smith: Monica Matoush at 202-226-5048

Pallone: CJ Young at 202-225-5735

Thompson: Adam Comis at 202-225-9978