U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., one of the co-chairs of the Florida delegation, wrote President Joe Biden this week, calling for “immediate federal action to help American companies distribute millions of protective face masks”
Buchanan pointed to a statement from a vice president of DemeTECH in Miami Lakes which noted that his company had 30 million N95 face masks in a warehouse, ready to be distributed.
“I write to urge you to do everything in your power to support American manufacturers and their continued efforts to produce and distribute critical N95 masks amid the ongoing health crisis,”
Buchanan said, “These companies need federal help to get their products into the hands of front-line health care workers and the public as soon as possible.”
“I write to urge you to do everything in your power to support American manufacturers and their continued efforts to produce and distribute critical N95 masks amid the ongoing health crisis,” Buchanan wrote Biden. “At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, many American companies upended their regular business operations to produce desperately needed N95 masks to help protect our country from this deadly virus. Now, even after getting their masks officially approved for use by the federal government, these companies are struggling to get their masks out to the public despite the continuing demand due to bureaucratic red tape. And some of those companies are even in danger failing as a result of this.
“A recent report found that usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in hospitals has hit record highs while hospital stockpiles of PPE have continued to winnow, needlessly endangering both patients and workers. Despite the increased demand, American companies who are making this critical equipment are still unable to get their products into the hands of those who need it most. In fact, according to a recent New York Times article, one company has 30 million masks on hand and ready to be purchased. As a result, some companies have even taken to exporting their products overseas. It is clear that these companies need federal support to get their products into the hands of the American public and our front-line health care workers as soon as possible,” Biden continued
“The coronavirus pandemic has exposed how dangerously reliant our medical supply chain is on China and other countries. We must take immediate take steps to become less dependent on foreign countries for our medical supplies and support American manufacturers. U.S. companies should not be forced to send these desperately needed supplies out of the country due to bureaucratic red tape. Last May, I introduced legislation to strengthen the American medical supply chain by creating a new federal office responsible for stockpiling adequate supplies of critical medicines and encourage companies to ramp up the manufacturing of drugs and supplies,” Buchanan added.
“I appreciate that your administration has made buying American a top priority and support those efforts. Working to ensure these companies can quickly and easily get these masks to those in need, especially our first responders, is a critically important issue everyone can agree on,” he wrote in conclusion. “Again, I urge you to work expeditiously to support these American manufacturers and help protect the American people.”
At the start of the year, Buchanan brought back the “Securing America’s Medicine Cabinet Act.” Buchanan’s bill, which he introduced in May, would create “a new federal office responsible for stockpiling adequate supplies of critical medicines and encourage companies to ramp up the manufacturing of those drugs.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.