WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) hosted a news conference call to discuss his plan for addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by healthcare workers on the frontline of keeping Americans healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Read Sen. Brown’s Plan to Mobilize American Manufacturing to Fight Coronavirus HERE.
“We know our country has the workers, the expertise, and the resources to fight this pandemic. We must immediately mobilize America’s vast manufacturing capacity to rise to this challenge,” said Brown.
Brown was joined on the call by Andy Warlick, CEO of Parkdale Mills, which operates U.S. Cotton in Cleveland. Warlick discussed his company’s efforts to ramp up production of these critical medical supplies and why Brown’s efforts are important.
“Parkdale Mills & U.S. Cotton stand ready to help in any way possible. It is obvious that we cannot rely on outsourced foreign production of such critical items. It is also obvious that we do not have the domestic capabilities today as a result of predatory trade practices that have destroyed our ability to sustain production of key Personal Protection Equipment for our country,” said Warlick.
This weekend, Brown wrote to President Trump outlining several steps the Administration should take immediately to address the shortage and ramp up manufacturing of these critical medical supplies.
In his plan and in his letter to the President, Brown lists nine steps the Administration could take immediately, including:
1) Designate a government official who can serve as a point person responsible for coordination the acquisition and development of PPE, medical devices, and other supplies necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
2) Establish a PPE and medical device assessment and database to monitor the supply and anticipated needs for PPE, ventilators, diagnostic test kits, and other needed medical supplies to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
3) Publish a list of PPE, medical device, and general medical supply needs to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
4) Establish a hotline capable of handling significant call capacity that will provide U.S. producers centralized information about the results of the national assessment and the current need for PPE, devices, and other health care supplies.
5) Provide immediate funding to manufacturers to purchase equipment, retool machinery, hire additional workers, and cover any other expenses needed to increase production of PPE and necessary medical devices and supplies.
6) Streamline contract and certification procedures to ensure production and delivery of materials are not delayed due to paperwork constraints.
7) Provide critical protections for workers who are making PPE, medical devices, and necessary supplies to receive a waiver from any shelter-in-place requirements to allow workers to volunteer to go to work in these critical industries.
8) Provide purchase guarantees and delivery assistance of product to the communities and health care facilities that need the products most.
9) Support companies that have the capacity to sterilize reusable equipment to alleviate the existing PPE shortage.
In his plan, Brown also pointed out important legislative actions that will help ramp up production of these critical supplies, including expanding the strategic national stockpile authority, substantially increasing Defense Production Act funding and strengthening domestic preferences.
A copy of Brown’s letter to the President can be read HERE.