02.12.21

House Committee Approves Baldwin-Murphy Legislation to Expand American Production of Pandemic Supplies

Baldwin-Murphy Bill Would Support President Biden’s Action to Use the Defense Production Act to Scale Up National Production of Medical Supplies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services included legislation authored by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Chris Murphy (D-CT) in their budget reconciliation package to provide a $10 billion investment to rapidly expand domestic manufacturing of pandemic supplies. This funding will support President Biden’s executive action and his American Rescue Plan to fully utilize the Defense Production Act (DPA) to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of testing and vaccine supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other materials needed for our COVID-19 response. The full House of Representatives will vote on the final budget reconciliation package before sending it to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

“For nearly a year, I’ve been calling for us to increase the national production of the medical supplies we need to fight this pandemic. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration created supply chain chaos and failed to provide our frontline workers with the supplies we need. We saw it with testing supplies and PPE, and now we see it with vaccine distribution,” said Senator Baldwin. “We need to unlock the full power of the Defense Production Act to scale up production of Made in America personal protective equipment and medical supplies. President Biden is committed to fully using the Defense Production Act and safeguarding the country by producing more pandemic supplies in the U.S. He has taken action to activate authorities under the DPA, and I am proud we are taking this first step to provide the federal funding needed to invest in the national production of the supplies we need to get through this pandemic.”

“COVID-19 has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, and we need to use every tool at our disposal to get ahead of the virus. President Biden gets that—he's already fully invoked the Defense Production Act to boost production of critical medical supplies. I’m glad the House Financial Services Committee passed our legislation to help supplement the White House’s executive action to ramp up production even faster so we can allow health care workers to care for patients and get more Americans vaccinated,” said Senator Murphy.

The country continues to experience supply chain issues that are having dangerous impacts on the nation’s response to COVID-19, as well as the nation’s ability to scale up vaccine production, distribution, and administration. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan also calls for $10 billion in funding to expand domestic manufacturing for pandemic supplies.

Senators Baldwin and Murphy recently led their colleagues in supporting President Biden’s use of executive action to utilize all authorities under the DPA that will help deploy a more functional response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 21, President Biden signed an Executive Order to take immediate action to fill supply shortfalls for vaccination supplies, testing supplies, and PPE, and to ensure that these critical supplies equitably reach American communities, especially communities of color and other underserved communities. Biden’s order also directed relevant agencies to exercise all appropriate authorities, including the DPA, to accelerate manufacturing, delivery, and administration to meet shortfalls in equipment and supplies needed for the COVID-19 response, to include what is necessary to support a transparent and equitable national vaccination plan.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Senators Baldwin and Murphy have been calling for the full activation of the DPA to ramp up American production of testing supplies, PPE and medical equipment. Last year, they introduced the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which would have required former President Trump to utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process. Key parts of the Baldwin-Murphy legislation were included in the House-passed HEROES Act, but the former Republican majority in the Senate obstructed their legislation and failed to take action on it.