The following is a media release from Congresswoman Katherine Clark’s office. She is a Democrat.
WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Representatives Katherine Clark (MA-5), Ted Deutch (FL-22), Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Angie Craig (MN-2) today, April 20, introduced the Emergency Supply Chain Transparency Act.
The legislation will ensure greater accountability of federal agencies and private-sector partners responsible for the distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other emergency resources under the Defense Protection Act and Stafford Act.
Specifically, this bill would require that the President report to Congress with detailed information about the transport, distribution, and possession of emergency resources by federal agencies and their private partners every 14 days.
The legislation follows several requests for detailed information about FEMA’s efforts to maintain visibility on PPE and guard supplies from the threat of hoarders and price gougers.
“I am in constant communication with local hospitals, community health centers, essential workers and our state leaders. They all have one message: we need PPE”, said Rep. Clark. “The Trump administration’s failure to coordinate and distribute these materials in inexcusable. We need accountability now. Lives depend on it.”
In March, Congresswoman Clark, along with the members of the Massachusetts Delegation, sent two letters to the Trump administration demanding an immediate invocation of the Defense Production Act authorities, which would allow the President to direct private industry to produce critically needed medical equipment, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators.
Additionally, the Congresswoman Clark sent a letter to Vice President Pence demanding answers on the lack of medical equipment supply. Hospitals and medical centers across Massachusetts and the country are reporting a dire lack of PPE for doctors, nurses, and first responders, as well as insufficient ventilators to meet projected need of patients in critical care.
“We’ve all seen the pictures of nurses wearing trash bags, reusing disposable masks, and improvising their own protective gear to protect themselves from COVID-19,” Rep. Deutch said. “If Project Airbridge is to effectively address the national shortage of PPE, we must be certain we don’t lose any of the lifesaving equipment to a broken supply chain. We are demanding confirmation that the masks, gowns, and other equipment nurses and doctors need make to the hospital loading dock, not a profiteer’s warehouse.”
“The White House’s response to the massive shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies across our country has been convoluted, slow, and inexcusably political,” said Rep. Schneider. “This ‘Wild West’ environment created by the lack of Administration leadership has allowed price-gouging and hoarding to flourish. Our legislation would bring desperately needed transparency to the medical supply chain to ensure this vital equipment is getting to our communities in need.”
“I’m proud to work with my colleagues and ensure greater transparency in the FEMA supply chain to ensure that critical health care equipment, PPE and medical equipment gets to health care workers so they can continue their heroic work on the frontlines,” said Rep. Angie Craig. Craig spent more than two decades working for a medical manufacturing company that relied heavily on supply chain management and logistics to provide products to more than 100 countries around the world.
Hospitals and state emergency officials from around the country have been frustrated by unfilled orders, delayed deliveries, and sharp price hikes. The Trump Administration launched Project Airbridge, a public-private partnership to cut the shipping time for emergency supplies from Asia down from 30 days to 2 days to meet the needs of frontline workers responding to the COVID-19 emergency.
After arriving in America, half of those supplies are turned over to private medical supply companies for distribution through the traditional supply chain.
You can view the legislation here.