The US Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), currently being considered by the Senate, needs to include domestic procurement policy for personal protective equipment (PPE). Recently a broad of about 20 industry organizations and trade unions suggested it.
The coalition also said that the government contracts, if it is long-term, could guarantee purchases.
The coalition took steps to create the necessary PPE throughout the COVID-19 epidemic, representing a detailed description of manufacturers and workers.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have written a letter to USICA in support of a strong domestic procurement policy for PPE.
The signatories include the National Council of Textile Organizations, the American Garment and Footwear Association, the Indo: Nonwoven Fabrics Industry Association, the SEMS: the American Sewing Products Association, and the United States Footwear Manufacturers.
The coalition said in the letter, “Specifically, we urge you to ensure broad government coverage for domestic PPE procurement by extending rules for PPE procurement substantially similar to the Berry Amendment to the federal government’s largest buyers of these products, including the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veterans Affairs (VA), and Defence (DoD).”
“We thank you for including such a provision in Section 4153 of the USICA, which is substantially similar to the bipartisan Make PPE in America Act (S.1306) introduced earlier this year by Senators [Gary] Peters and [Rob] Portman,” the coalition added.
They also said, “As you consider legislation to respond to the legacy of manufacturing and technology offshoring to China, provisions like Section 4153 are vital to reduce US dependency on China for vital medical supplies.”
The letter stated, “Although last spring when our national PPE crisis was on the nightly news showing workers wearing garbage bags as gowns and reusing N95 masks, our severe overreliance on China for PPE revealed the undeniable fact.”
“For the lack of US production of PPE is a threat to our national security and the public health of the American people,” also added.
However, despite the shortage of PPE and disruption of the supply chain, American workers have taken many steps to fill the gap.
As a result, U.S. production has produced more than one billion critical PPE items such as face masks, isolation gowns, and for healthcare and frontline workers.
At the same time, for the American people, America makes PPE again.
Subsequently, to continue this trend, “the coalition insisted on providing long-term government agreements to guarantee the purchase of the emerging U.S. PPE industry.”
Also, “We need a strong, vibrant, redundant wholly US PPE supply chain to help protect us from the next public health crisis.”
“We urge you to ensure that the US Innovation and Competition Act extends domestic purchasing requirements for PPE to the four critical departments with the largest federal purchasing power for these products—DHS, HHS, VA, and DoD,” mentioned in the letter.