Strategic National Stockpile contains only a fraction of the supplies necessary; Senator’s resolution calls for use of the Defense Production Act to mobilize industry to respond to coronavirus crisis


Berkshire Medical Center in Mass. reported requiring 3,500 respirator masks a day, but Mass. only recently received 70,000 of these respirators masks


Washington (March 16, 2020) – As President Donald Trump today told the nation’s governors that they shouldn’t count on the federal government in the immediate future to provide (help them acquire) critical respirators and ventilators, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) announced his resolution calling on the Trump administration to use its existing authority under the Defense Production Act to immediately support a drastic increase of manufacturing of critical medical supplies and coronavirus testing kits. Under the Defense Production Act of 1950, the president has broad authority to take immediate action to mobilize domestic industry for emergency preparedness activities. There is a clear need for a scaled-up domestic manufacturing response: the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the United States could need up to 3.5 billion respirators, but the Strategic National Stockpile holds only 12 million respirators. Berkshire Hospital in Massachusetts has reported that it requires 3,500 respirator masks a day, but only recently received 75,000 of these respirators masks.


“We do not want our doctors, nurses and medical workers reusing masks and gloves,” said Senator Markey.


“Our health care system is confronting a medical device shortage crisis that could derail efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus and endanger doctors, nurses, and first responders. It is beyond irresponsible for Trump to simply abandon states to fend for themselves in acquiring desperately-needed medical devices like ventilators and respirators. The President should not wait another moment to use his authority to mobilize our domestic industry to increase private production of the supplies needed to combat this viral enemy and protect our hospital personnel, first responders, and patients. We need a wartime mobilization of production and we need it now. I am calling on the President to immediately invoke the authorities of the Defense Production Act to respond to this crisis.”

A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.  

Senator Markey’s resolution:

  • Calls on the President to use existing authorities under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to massively and quickly ramp up domestic production of medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, needed to respond to the ongoing public health emergency driven by the spread of the novel coronavirus;
  • Urges the President to prioritize the use of these authorities to produce and secure additional personal protective equipment, test kit supplies, respirators, ventilators,  and sanitizing materials for domestic use within the health care sector;
  • Supports the use of authorities within Title I of the Defense Production Act to allocate and control the distribution of medical materials needed for testing and treating the novel coronavirus, including by directing suppliers to prioritize and accept government contracts to restock the Strategic National Stockpile where necessary;
  • Supports the use of authorities within Title III of the Defense Production Act to provide financial incentives to manufacturers and suppliers of critical medical equipment, including loans, loan guarantees, direct purchases, and purchase commitments; and
  • Supports the use of authorities within Title VII of the Defense Production Act to establish voluntary federal agreements with private industry that would allow for the temporary coordination of production of necessary and scarce medical supplies.