Homeland Preparedness News

Senate bill would improve SNS and strengthen supply chain of medical supplies

By Dave Kovaleski

U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) introduced a bill designed to improve the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen the domestic manufacturing of supplies.

The lack of critical medical supplies across the domestic supply chain forced the United States to rely on China and other nations for medical supplies and equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 would incent manufacturers of critical supplies to strengthen their supply chains and establish reserves for future public health emergencies.

“We must improve our public health infrastructure based on the lessons learned from this COVID-19 pandemic and ensure the Strategic National Stockpile is well equipped to support a response to a large-scale crisis,” Bennet said. “This bipartisan bill will help us ramp up America’s manufacturing and distribution of critical supplies like personal protective equipment, so we are better prepared for the next national emergency and not beholden to countries like China.”

The bill would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2023 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program to create incentives for the domestic manufacturer to enhance supply chain elasticity, establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies, and work with distributors to refresh and replenish supply stocks in the Strategic National Stockpile.

“The coronavirus pandemic exposed risks in not maintaining a stronger U.S.-based infrastructure for critical medical supplies,” Hyde-Smith said. “This legislation would establish a framework to improve and renew the Strategic National Stockpile so that the health and well-being of Americans isn’t unfairly jeopardized by bad actors like China.”