WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today convened a hearing with former officials and experts in public health and emergency management to examine the federal government’s preparation for and response to the Coronavirus pandemic. The hearing follows Peters’ bipartisan request to top federal agencies for information related to the federal government’s Coronavirus pandemic preparedness and response.
Major missteps in our nation’s initial pandemic response, such as sidelining medical experts and a failure to implement a comprehensive national strategy, resulted in severe consequences for countless families and communities across the nation. This public health crisis has now taken more than 562,000 American lives and continues to leave economic destruction in its wake. Peters asked the witnesses what additional steps and reforms lawmakers can take to better combat the pandemic and assess needed reforms to help ensure the United States is better prepared for future public health threats and other national emergencies.
“We have to examine and confront our failures, identify and build on what went right, and propose reforms to ensure our nation can combat this pandemic and be better prepared to prevent and respond to future pandemics and public health threats,” said Peters during his opening statement.
Peters continued: “Tragically, it didn’t have to be this way. The lives lost, the permanent changes to people’s personal health, the economic devastation, and the long months of personal sacrifice and suffering were not inevitable.”
To watch video of Senator Peters’ questions, click here.
Peters has led several efforts to ensure thorough oversight of the federal Coronavirus response. Peters repeatedly called for the previous Administration to use the Defense Production Act to address shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies by increasing domestic production. In October 2020, he released a report highlighting shortcomings in the Trump Administration’s vaccine distribution plans and providing recommendations to ensure that vaccines will be safe, effective, trusted by the public, free, and widely available to every community. Peters has also pushed legislation to address shortages of medical supplies and personal protective equipment by encouraging domestic production.