REP. VARGAS COVID-19 MEDICAL SUPPLIES BILL PASSES THE HOUSE
Washington, D.C. (May 19, 2021)—Rep. Juan Vargas released the following statement after his bipartisan bill, H.R. 3125 COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act of 2021, passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill will support the President’s use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) authorities to further advance the production, acquisition, and distribution of medical supplies used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The bill also provides guidance for FEMA to appoint a civilian “Outreach Representative” to help coordinate partnerships between the federal government and private sector for the production of essential materials. This representative will be acting as the point person between the federal government and the manufacturing companies and suppliers who are interested in producing medical supplies and equipment. In addition, Rep. Vargas' bill requires the administration to provide a report conveying the federal contracts awarded under DPA authorities and requires additional reporting on the percent of contracts awarded to small businesses.
This bill’s passage was agreed to by a voice vote in the House and has been sent to the Senate for consideration.
"I’m proud my bipartisan bill, the COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act of 2021, passed out of the House this week. This bill will support the current use of the DPA and facilitate its use in the future by amending the DPA to explicitly include public health emergency preparedness as a core activity for national defense.
"The current administration has been extremely effective in using the Defense Production Act to help produce vaccines and PPE. Following these efforts, cases and deaths have declined significantly. I am proud of the work President Biden has done, and I look forward to the administration’s report to Congress that my bill requires. This report will allow us to track how the DPA has been used, and thus, see its essential impact on the production of medical materials, necessary to save lives.
“Additionally, the report on the percent of small businesses awarded DPA contracts will help us see the extent to which these businesses were given the opportunity to play a key role in our country’s efforts to protect its people. Within that report, I urge the administration to provide detailed data on contracts going to small business owners from underserved communities, including communities of color, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.”
Vargas represents California’s 51st Congressional District which includes the southern portion of San Diego County, all of Imperial County, and California’s entire U.S.-Mexico border. Vargas was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and is currently serving his fifth term in Congress. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee.