Representatives Malinowski and DeLauro Introduce Legislation Mandating Enhanced Requirements for the Strategic National Stockpile to Better Combat Future Pandemics and Natural Disasters
(Somerville, NJ) – Today, Representatives Tom Malinowski (NJ-7) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-3) introduced the Providing Protective Equipment (PPE) Act of 2020 to ensure that the United States has a properly stocked and maintained Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to combat future health crises. The current COVID-19 crisis has shed light on the life threatening inadequacies of our current strategic national stockpile; inadequate levels of required equipment, much of it out of date, expired, or broken, with limited ability to quickly replenish the supply. This legislation will help ensure that our government will be better prepared to respond to future emergencies. It was introduced with 37 original co-sponsors.
The PPE Act will:
- Require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to determine the minimum level of supplies, such as personal protective equipment, in the SNS to adequately respond to a pandemic. It will also require the Secretary to submit this estimate, along with a funding request, directly to Congress on a yearly basis — independent of the president’s annual budget request to Congress;
- Require the Secretary to submit a request to the President to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to secure supplies if the Secretary is unable to acquire the necessary items. The DPA is amended so that unspent funds from the previous years can be rolled into the subsequent years’ budgets, allowing the DPA to stockpile funding in case of a national emergency;
- Enable the SNS to receive reimbursement for the logistical cost of giving supplies to other agencies.
“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed glaring weaknesses in our country’s pandemic response preparedness, including our failure to maintain a sufficient national PPE stockpile,” said Congressman Malinowski. “This bill will ensure that Congress and the public are told at the start of each year exactly what is necessary to keep a ready stockpile and that the government is held accountable to fund it."
“COVID-19 is the biggest health and economic crisis our country has ever seen,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Nurses and doctors are in intensive care units trying to save our humanity against this awful pandemic. Our federal government needs to be there for them and everyone who falls ill. The widespread shortage of ventilators, N95 respirators, surgical masks, and other medical supplies should never have happened. By ensuring Congress has proper information on the Strategic National Stockpile from the Executive Branch and automatically requiring HHS to request invoking the Defense Production Act when supplies are needed, the PPE Act can ensure our Strategic National Stockpile is always well-stocked.”