WASHINGTON, DC – Following calls and pressure from U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, President Trump announced he will use the authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to address widespread shortages for personal protective equipment and medical supplies due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The DPA authorizes the President to strengthen domestic manufacturing capacity and supply in extraordinary circumstances, and to direct private sector firms to produce critical manufactured goods to meet urgent national security and emergency preparedness needs. Medical supplies like masks, gloves, cotton swabs, ventilators and tests are short in supply and put medical professionals and patients at further risk. This week, Peters pressed the Administration to use this authority to address testing and other equipment shortages. Peters previously raised concerns about supply chain vulnerabilities in a December report.
“As Coronavirus continues to spread to communities across the country, we must take extraordinary measures to ensure we have enough supplies to treat patients, protect health care workers and prevent further transmission of the virus,” said Senator Peters. “I will keep pushing the Administration to use the Defense Production Act authority – not just talk about it – to ensure that we are taking aggressive actions to address critical supply shortages that could jeopardize ongoing response efforts. Companies in Michigan and across the country want to know how they can help fight this pandemic, and the Administration needs to provide them with coordinated and clear information about what types of supplies we need and how they can safely help meet demand. As we work together to tackle this public health crisis, I will continue to press for commonsense solutions to keep Michiganders and all Americans safe.”
This week, Peters made several calls for the President to use this important authority to increase domestic production of supplies. He released a national Coronavirus testing plan calling for additional production and distribution of testing kits. Peters and his colleagues also wrote to President Trump, pressing him to use this authority to support domestic preparedness and emergency response following his national emergency declaration. Peters also joined his colleagues to introduce a resolution calling on the President to act swiftly under the Defense Production Act to address serious shortages of life-saving ventilators, respirator masks, and personal protective equipment such as gloves. Peters is continuing to press Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials to urge the Administration to take immediate steps to use the DPA to identify critical needs and determine if and what changes to American production facilities are needed to manufacture supplies in shortage.
Peters has consistently pressed for the Administration to secure our medical supply chain to help prevent the spread of this deadly virus. In December, Peters released a report detailing serious national security vulnerabilities in our medical supply chain, including our reliance on overseas manufacturing for medical equipment and prescription drugs. Earlier this year, Peters sent a bipartisan letter to the Administration requesting detailed information on the security of the nation’s medical supply chain.