Slotkin Leads Major, Bipartisan Package to Overhaul National Stockpile, Make More Critical Supplies In U.S.

Press Release

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) has re-introduced her Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act, a major bipartisan package of legislation that would reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), boost domestic manufacturing to make those supplies in the United States, and make much-needed improvements and updates to our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

The package passed on a unanimous, bipartisan vote in the House last year. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the bill in the Senate earlier this week.

Reps. Richard Hudson (NC-08), Kim Schrier (WA-08), David McKinley (WV-01), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Buddy Carter (GA-01), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Fred Upton (MI-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Michael C. Burgess (TX-26), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Darren Soto (FL-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) are original co-sponsors of the House bill.

"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," 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 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."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of PPE and our Strategic National Stockpile," said Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC). "As part of my work on pandemic preparedness issues, I'm proud to help lead this bipartisan package of measures to strengthen our stockpile, expand American manufacturing, and ensure our country's ability to respond to and prepare for future pandemics."

"The Strategic National Stockpile is meant to be our national safety net during a crisis. This pandemic exposed real deficiencies in our SNS. Without proper readiness, we didn't have enough equipment on hand - like N95 masks and ventilators - to protect frontline workers and keep our communities safe" said Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA). "This legislation that will bolster our SNS is vital- opening up all avenues to build and secure our stockpile, and getting supplies out to states. We will experience pandemics and other natural disasters again. We need to fortify the stockpile to be prepared for the next crisis."

"The shortages of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic exposed a glaring weakness in our supply chain," said Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). "Simply put we are too reliant on foreign nations for vital medical supplies. Improving the Strategic National Stockpile and working to bring manufacturing of PPE and other supplies back to America will help make sure we are equipped to face these challenges in the future."

"What we have seen over and over is that in responding to global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, time is of the essence -- and the time to prepare for such emergencies is now," said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). "The federal government needs to do everything it can to ensure we have the resources we need in our National Strategic Stockpile to respond effectively and efficiently when such emergencies arise."

"The past year and a half has shown that our country must make bold investments in and modernize our public health infrastructure," said Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC). "The Strategic National Stockpile is a critical component of our public health defense and it must be equipped and ready to handle any public health crisis. The transparency and accountability provisions and pilot programs in the Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act will help ensure that the Strategic National Stockpile is an effective tool in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and any public health crises to come."

"One of the key lessons of the COVID-19 crisis has been the need to break our dependence on China for the production of medicines, PPE, and other critical supplies," said Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN). "To fully prepare for the next crisis and better protect front line health care workers, we need to boost U.S. manufacturing of PPE and strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile. This bipartisan legislation -- which includes my bill with Congresswoman Dingell to incentivize production of critical medical items here in America -- will ensure we can maintain a reliable reserve of lifesaving supplies."

"The pandemic has exposed serious shortcomings of the Strategic National Stockpile to adequately provide states and localities across our nation with critical personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other desperately needed supplies," said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). "In light of these shortcomings, we must have dedicated oversight and forward looking assessments of this vital inventory to ensure that we will never again be unprepared to react to any emergency situation we encounter."

"The breakdown in our PPE supply chain was both a market and a national security failure," said Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). "This bill will ensure that we never again suffer widespread shortages of life saving medical equipment, and that we are prepared for any future public health crisis."

"Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act increases the authorization of the Strategic National Stockpile and makes much needed revisions to allow a more robust and nimble response," said Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D (R-TX). "It will ensure the SNS maintains its readiness to respond to a wide variety of threats, particularly biological, chemical, and nuclear. This bill is comprised of bipartisan policies championed by many Members of Energy and Commerce. It is important for us to consider this legislation so that the SNS can more effectively assist state and local partners as we near the end of this pandemic, as well as prepare for any future public health emergencies."

"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of ensuring that the United States has adequate manufacturing capacity and stockpiles of PPE and other medical equipment to improve readiness for America's first responders and healthcare workers," said Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI). "The bipartisan Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act meets this need by making robust, long-term investments in our nation's Strategic National Stockpile and manufacturing capability to better respond to future public health emergencies."

"We simply cannot outsource our public safety and national security to foreign nations. We must reconstitute our healthcare and public safety supply chain back to the United States, and permanently shore up our Strategic National Stockpile," said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). "Medical products, protective equipment, pharmaceuticals, emergency response equipment, and all other critical items and materials needed to respond to a national emergency must be produced domestically for domestic consumption, especially during a critical, time-sensitive crisis."

The bipartisan Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act would:

Improve maintenance of the stockpile to ensure stockpile items are in good working order and ready to use if and when a crisis hits;
Increase manufacturing of critical supplies in America to diversify sources of personal protective equipment and partner with industry to replenish existing stocks;
Provide more federal resources to states to expand or maintain their own strategic stockpiles; and
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.