Last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., announced he was backing Rep. French Hill’s, R-Ark., bill amending the Defense Production Act (DPA) to help with the availability of medical equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of March, Hill introduced the “Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act” which Steube threw his support behind last week. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., cosponsored the bill earlier this month.
“The DPA, which was invoked by President Trump on March 18, 2020, provides the federal government more control during times of emergencies to direct industrial production. Rep. Hill’s legislation dovetails with the president’s actions by diversifying America’s medical supply chain, with the intention of making the United States less dependent on foreign manufacturers, like China,” Hill’s office noted.
“The SAVE Act is critical because it will decrease our nation’s reliance on other countries for medical supplies and ensure that during times of a public health emergency, like we are experiencing right now, we will have the supplies we need to keep Arkansans and Americans safe. It complements the actions President Trump has already taken to ensure that our country will have a reliable and necessary source of medical supplies during times of emergency,” Hill said when he introduced the proposal.
According to his office, Hill’s bill “outlines the president should use DPA authorities to ensure the availability of medical articles essential to national defense, specifically as it relates to securing our supply chains; clarifies that the president may provide incentives to ensure the availability of medical articles essential for national defense; requires the president to create a strategy on securing medical article supply chains, including for drugs that diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease; and provides the president explicit authority to use the DPA to protect supply chains by allowing entities to increase the security of supply chains and their activities.”
“The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the fact that so many critical products and aspects of America’s medical supply chain are controlled by shady foreign governments, like Communist China,” said Steube last week. “In times of national emergency, we must be able to rely on our own country to provide necessary supplies to keep our citizens safe. This legislation empowers American manufacturing and puts America first.”
Hill’s bill is before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. So far, there is no counterpart over in the U.S. Senate.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.