WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led the bipartisan reintroduction of her legislation with Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) to require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the amount of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other national security related items it receives from American companies. The Homeland Procurement Reform Act would bolster the domestic supply chain for national security-related items and increase the government’s capacity to supply these critical materials that the Department of Homeland Security needs, particularly during a national emergency.
“Watching our frontline health care workers scramble for life-saving protective gear and resources throughout this pandemic has been a harrowing experience that must never be repeated,” said Shaheen. “Shoring up our domestic supply chains for PPE and other items must be our top priority so that when a disaster strikes, we are prepared and not reliant on international sources for these materials. I’m glad to lead this bipartisan effort to address the gaps in our supply chain and create jobs at home by requiring domestic procurement of PPE and other national security items. I’ll continue working in Congress to ensure our essential workers and others defending our national security are never put in a position where they’re forced to work without the critical equipment they need to stay safe, especially in times of crisis.”
“The personal protective equipment shortages America experienced over the past year made painfully clear that we cannot rely on our foreign adversaries for any supplies related to our national security,” said Rounds. “We urgently need to strengthen our PPE and other domestic supply chains. Our legislation makes sure that the federal government is buying American so we can build those supply chains and create more jobs for Americans.”
“When we face an emergency, the United States must be able to provide our front line workers with the gear and supplies that they need without having to rely on countries like China for these essential items,” said Hassan. “As part of my efforts to shore up our domestic supply chain, I am pleased to join in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will take important steps to support American companies that manufacture PPE and other critical supplies and better prepare our country for future emergencies. I am eager to work with Senators Shaheen and Rounds to build support for this bill to help strengthen our national security and emergency preparedness.”
“This pandemic taught us the devastating consequences of a weak supply chain,” said Moran. “This legislation would require the Department of Homeland Security to increase the amount of PPE and national security items it purchases from companies here in the U.S. Not only does this benefit manufacturers in Kansas and around the county, this legislation will not leave us dependent on foreign suppliers for critical health care supplies if we face another global pandemic.”
Senator Shaheen’s legislation would increase the items that DHS is required to procure domestically by placing certain restrictions on DHS procurement. These restrictions would narrow the field that DHS is able to procure from and drive DHS procurement towards predominately U.S. companies that are able to meet the standards outlined in the bill. Bolstering the domestic supply chain would help ensure American-made products are prioritized and would also help alleviate shortages that could arise during times of national emergencies, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, when obtaining necessary materials like PPE is interrupted by a crisis.
Text of the legislation is available here.
Senator Shaheen has led efforts to secure urgently needed personal protective equipment for New Hampshire. Shaheen joined a letter to President Joe Biden supporting his administration’s plan to quickly utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to rapidly increase the production and stockpiling of medical, testing and protective equipment supplies. Last April, Shaheen introduced legislation that laid out a framework for an effective COVID-19 response by federalizing and adding oversight and transparency to the supply chain for critical medical supplies and equipment. With the state’s congressional delegation, Shaheen sent multiple letters to the Trump administration requesting rapid assistance to ensure New Hampshire health care providers have the supplies needed to address coronavirus cases the state is experiencing. In addition, Shaheen sent a letter pressing the Trump administration for information on the distribution of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment. She also repeatedly called for then-President Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act and introduced legislation to expedite the procurement of medical equipment, under the DPA. Specifically, Shaheen pushed the previous administration to fully utilize the DPA to ensure the VA has the supplies and equipment needed to protect veterans from COVID-19.