REP. VARGAS’ COVID-19 EMERGENCY MEDICAL SUPPLIES ENHANCEMENT ACT INCLUDED IN THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
Washington, D.C. (July 21, 2020) – Rep. Vargas’ (CA-51) COVID-19 Emergency Medical Supplies Enhancement Act was included as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. This legislation clarifies that the President is authorized to exercise authorities of the Defense Production Act to be used for the production of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies needed to combat and reduce the impact of COVID-19.
The amendment is also led by Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) and Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-6), Lori Trahan (MA-3), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Mark Pocan (WI-2), Elissa Slotkin (MI-8), Joe Kennedy (MA-4), Tim Ryan (OH-13), Jason Crow (CO-6), and Tony Cárdenas (CA-29). Reps. Andy Levin (MI-9) and Susan Davis (CA-53) were also cosponsors of the amendment.
“I’m very pleased that my legislation was included in the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Rep. Vargas. “The administration must do everything in their power to protect healthcare workers and save as many lives as they can.”
The legislation would also require the President to issue a series of public reports on how authorities of the DPA were used and an evaluation of the immediate and future need for materials to address the COVID-19 crisis. The legislation also requires a full explanation of purchases and contracts the administration has signed under the DPA.
“It’s long overdue for the President and his administration to create a strategic plan for the production of personal protective equipment and other supplies needed to reduce the impact of COVID-19,” said Rep. Vargas. “My legislation will hold the administration accountable by requiring them to report and monitor the pricing of materials used to combat COVID-19."
The legislation also requires the administration to set a target level for each state in terms of testing and creates a point person for improved coordination between the private sector and the federal government.
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 fourth term in Congress.