Rep. Vargas Introduces COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act of 2021
Washington, D.C. (May 12, 2021) –Rep. Vargas (CA-51) introduced the COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act, along with original cosponsor Rep. French Hill (AR-02). 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.
"Today, I introduced the COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act of 2021, which affirms that certain medical materials qualify for purchase and increased production under the DPA. The bill will ensure greater access to such materials nationwide and allow us to get these materials to communities most affected by the pandemic," said Rep. Vargas. "My bill also provides a framework for streamlined communication between the federal government and private sector, supporting the supply chain for production of these essential materials used to help prevent COVID-19."
Rep. Vargas also joined Rep. Hill in introducing, the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act as an original cosponsor.
"The COVID-19 pandemic taught us an important lesson on national preparedness. While it is important to address the ongoing public health emergency, we must also work on ensuring that we are equipped to readily produce essential materials and goods to address future national emergencies," said Rep. Vargas. "This is why I'm proud to join my colleague, Representative Hill, in introducing his bill, the Securing America's Vaccines for Emergencies Act. This bill aims to help bolster supply chain security for materials essential to our national defense, including the medical supplies needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and respond to public health crises moving forward."
The SAVE Act would require the President to provide a detailed plan for securing the U.S. supply chains for production of medical equipment required for national defense, and clarifies authorities the President has under the DPA to support such supply chains.
“The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that we must take action to reduce our dependency on other countries for supplies critical to protecting families in Arkansas and across the nation during a crisis,” said Rep. Hill. “Mine and Rep. Vargas' bills will help improve our medical supply chains and work to ensure that we as a nation are prepared and ready to address any crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic head on.”
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.