U.S. Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-11) joined a group of seven House Democrats and seven House Republicans to urge the President to make quick and effective use of the Defense Production Act. The bipartisan group highlighted the need to respond to COVID-19 and meet the critical supply needs of the healthcare system and to save American lives during the greatest public health crisis in a century. The President signed an executive order on March 18, 2020, invoking the Defense Production Act but to date has not used it.
Introduced by Representative Andy Levin (MI-09), the members leading the resolution are Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Don Bacon (NE-02), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Diana DeGette (CO-01), Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Ted Lieu (CA-33), Katie Porter (CA-45), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Van Taylor (TX-03), and Fred Upton (MI-04).
“Our healthcare providers and first responders are our first and best line of defense against the spread of COVID-19,” said Representative Sherrill. “The Defense Production Act gives the President the tools he needs to ensure they have access to lifesaving equipment. New Jersey has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-10 cases in the country, and we must do everything possible to get our frontline workers personal protective gear and ensure a stable supply line.”
“President Trump said he would use the Defense Production Act in the worst case scenario—we’re there, Mr. President,” Representative Levin said. “Frontline health care workers are already treating patients without the personal protective equipment they need, some falling victim to the virus themselves. A nurse in my district described her ER as a ‘war zone’ in the fight for masks, everyone given one per shift. Soon, our health care workers will be battling for their patients to get the one ventilator available. We cannot wait for that day to come.”
On March 13, 2020, Representative Sherrill joined nearly 60 House members from across the country called on the President to invoke the DPA and increase the availability of vital medical supplies through a letter led by Representative Levin. She is working with New Jersey manufacturers to find ways to produce more personal protective equipment for New Jersey healthcare workers and first responders.
The resolution calls on the president to immediately share with Congress plans for the use of the Defense Production Act authorities, including targets and timelines to produce supplies needed to address the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the results of the ongoing use of these authorities. The resolution also states that the House stands ready to make additional appropriations available to meet the needs of Defense Production Act invocation.