A New York City politician is introducing a new bill to make sure that the United States is prepared for future pandemics.
PPE shortages are still an ongoing issue for those on the frontlines of COVID-19 response. FEMA’s Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force projected a shortage of approximately 100 million gowns and 40 million N95 respirators this month.
More than 400 healthcare workers have died from coronavirus, and shortages of PPE have played a significant role in this crisis. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney is introducing the Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act to ensure that the United States will be prepared if another pandemic should arise.
“Having strong domestic production of PPE is absolutely essential to keeping Americans safe in the midst of a global pandemic. Too many lives have been lost unnecessarily because broken global supply chains left our essential workers without the equipment they needed,” said Maloney. “I am incredibly proud of the coalition of New York City fashion industry members who stepped up and worked tirelessly to produce over one million non-surgical PPE isolation gowns in spite of these great challenges, but our nation should never be placed in such a desperate position again. That is why I am proud to introduce this bill to guarantee an adequate stock of PPE in the Strategic National Stockpile at all times and establish domestic supply chain incentives that put Americans to work building the skills and materials we need to sustain us when our nation is hit with the unthinkable.”
If passed, this bill would require that the Strategic National Stockpile maintain at least enough PPE to sustain the U.S. through a year of a global pandemic. The bill would also require that 25% of PPE must be manufactured in the United States, which Maloney says will strengthen the country’s domestic supply chains and ensuring Americans have the tools to manufacture lifesaving supplies when the nation needs them most.
Additionally, a tax credit would be created to assist manufacturers with the costs of developing or expanding domestic sources for the end-to-end production of PPE goods within the US.
“Amidst the devastated landscape from COVID 19, the NYC Manufacturer’s Coalition was able to pivot into PPE gown manufacturing with the help of leaders and community that answered the call,” said Mi Jong Lee, Designer and Founder of Emmelle Designs and Founder of NYC Manufacturers Coalition. “To let this hard-earned knowledge go, to return exclusively to traditional foreign sources, would be leaving us vulnerable again to changing currents in global politics in the era of pandemic. The nascent foundation that all of us through trial and error laid down should be protected as it will protect our health workers, our citizens and our country from ever being completely vulnerable. It will keep our manufacturing industry from completely collapsing and our workers employed. That in itself is a long-term gain for our country’s economy even though initially we are paying more for what can be obtained overseas. I have faith in American creativity that this gap will narrow, and our quality will far surpass the global competition in the future. The Made in America: Preparation for a Pandemic Act is a statement of that faith and of safeguarding our citizens.”
Throughout this crisis, Maloney has worked with Fashion for the Frontlines, Fashion Girls for Humanity, Care+Wear, Gerber Techonology, Retailers United, and the NYC Manufacturers Coalition to produce more than one million non-surgical PPE isolation gowns to distribute to hospitals and governments in New York City and across the nation.