Larson, Courtney to Introduce Legislation to Nationalize Production & Distribution of Pandemic Supplies
Hartford, CT – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) announced that he and Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) will be introducing legislation to nationalize the production and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical supplies, testing, vaccines and more to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are in the midst of a war against COVID. It’s time for our country to come together to defeat this virus. We need national leadership. States shouldn’t have to fight each other for supplies. By utilizing the Defense Production Act, we can work with the private sector to manufacture the necessary supplies. The Defense Logistics Agency can work hand in hand with Governors, Mayors, and the private sector to distribute the supplies and vaccines across the country. I’m pleased that President-elect Biden has established a COVID Task Force and Congress must work with him to move our nation forward,” said Larson.
“Defeating the virus has always hinged on harnessing the strength of the federal government, a strategy that thus far has been underutilized” said Congressman Courtney. “While the private sector has been a crucial partner in COVID response, it is clear that the logistical and organization power of the federal government can play a bigger role in crushing the virus. For example, today’s announcement that Pfizer’s vaccine candidate is reported to be ninety percent effective is spectacular progress, but Pfizer’s vaccine comes with the logistical challenge of supercold storage requirements. Existing distribution chains can’t handle this requirement, but improving the role of the federal government can ensure that challenges like these are addressed in a systematic way that ensures equity nationwide. I’m proud to join Rep. John Larson in this important effort to help our communities overcome COVID-19, and am grateful for his continued leadership on this issue.”
The legislation will:
- Assess and identify the private sector’s capacity to produce needed equipment;
- Invoke the Defense Production Act to the extent necessary to match the supply and capacity needed to meet the demand for ventilators, masks and other essential personal protective equipment needed to address the COVID-19 crisis;
- Requires weekly reports be submitted to Congress on the status of the equipment distribution plan, the available resources and the production of equipment, ventilators, and medical protective gear;
- Establishes the Defense Logistics Agency as the lead on procurement and distribution of vaccine, PPE, and other critical supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Designates the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency as the head of the COVID–19 Joint Acquisition Task Force;
- Mandates that the Director of the Defense Logistics Agency establish and maintain an online system through which states and local governments affected by a covered emergency may submit requests for covered items and establish procedures for fulfilling requests;
- Requires reporting on the needs of the domestic manufacturing base for the mass production of a vaccine; and
- Mandates an assessment of the identified needs, personnel and funding requirements, and timelines and milestones of operations for the response and recovery efforts of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Joint Acquisition Taskforce during the pandemic.