WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), the House Republican leader on pandemic preparedness, has helped reintroduce the Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act. The bill is major bipartisan package of legislation that would reduce America's dependence on foreign sources of critical medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), boost domestic manufacturing to make those supplies in the United States, and make much-needed improvements and updates to our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
Rep. Hudson, who also cosponsored this legislation last Congress, is the lead Republican on the bill reintroduced by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08). Other original House cosponsors include Kim Schrier (WA-08), David McKinley (WV-01), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Buddy Carter (GA-01), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Jackie Walorski (IN-02), Joe Neguse (CO-02), Fred Upton (MI-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Michael C. Burgess (TX-26), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Darren Soto (FL-09) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01).
The package passed on a unanimous, bipartisan vote in the House last year but did not receive Senate action. Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced the bill in the Senate earlier this week.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of PPE and our Strategic National Stockpile," said Rep. Richard Hudson. "As part of my work on pandemic preparedness issues, I'm proud to help lead this bipartisan package of measures to strengthen our stockpile, expand American manufacturing, and ensure our country's ability to respond to and prepare for future pandemics."
"Last spring as cases of COVID-19 surged across the country, our frontline medical workers were sent into combat against a deadly virus without the armor they needed to protect themselves," said Rep. Slotkin. "When Michigan and other states called on the Strategic National Stockpile for urgently needed masks, gloves and other protective gear, what we got was nowhere close to what we needed. We can never again let our country be dependent on foreign suppliers for the equipment we need when crises like this pandemic strike. This bipartisan package of bills addresses the lessons of the past year: it will boost domestic production of critical medical supplies; reduce our dependence on foreign manufacturers; give our frontline workers the protection they need for future crises; and improve maintenance and oversight of our stockpile."
The bipartisan Strengthening America's Strategic National Stockpile Act would:
- Improve maintenance of the stockpile to ensure stockpile items are in good working order and ready to use if and when a crisis hits;
- Increase manufacturing of critical supplies in America to diversify sources of personal protective equipment and partner with industry to replenish existing stocks;
- Provide more federal resources to states to expand or maintain their own strategic stockpiles; and
- Bring transparency to stockpile allocations by requiring a report to Congress on all requests for stockpile supplies during the pandemic and the response to each request.