WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, joined 26 of his Senate colleagues in supporting President Joe Biden’s plan to quickly utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to rapidly increase the production of COVID-19 vaccines and stockpiling of other critical medical supplies in the United States. Companies and workers across Michigan are continuing to produce the supplies needed to respond to the pandemic. Fully utilizing the DPA will provide them with support and certainty from the federal government to ensure that their hard work helps get the pandemic under control.
The DPA has not been fully utilized as a part of the federal pandemic response. This has created continued supply chain issues with dangerous impacts on the nation’s efforts to control the pandemic, including scaling up vaccine production and distribution. In their letter to Biden, Peters and his colleagues expressed support for executive action to utilize all authorities under the DPA to increase the supply of coronavirus vaccines available to all Americans.
“The DPA can help us reach our goal of vaccinating enough of the American public to achieve herd immunity by ramping up production of sterile needles, rubber stoppers, syringes and other vaccine supplies now,” wrote the Senators.
The Senators continued: “We need to use every tool available to make up the ground we have lost. The DPA could also be used to regulate vaccine distribution, ensure that companies do not charge for the vaccine in the future and enhance production of materials needed for vaccines to address future pandemics.”
As the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Peters has led several efforts to ensure development of the Coronavirus vaccine is rooted in science and transparency and that its distribution is efficient, swift and equitable. Peters previously pressed the Trump Administration for information on their preparations to meet the enormous challenge of coordinating the wide distribution of Coronavirus vaccines. He also released a report highlighting shortcomings in the Trump Administration’s vaccine distribution plans and providing recommendations to ensure that vaccines are safe, effective, trusted by the public, free, and widely available to every community – which included utilizing the DPA. Peters also introduced legislation to address shortages of medical supplies and personal protective equipment by encouraging domestic production.
The full text of the letter is available here.