As the country sees dramatic spikes in COVID-19 coronavirus cases in fall 2020, political leaders are seeking to find solutions to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers on the front lines. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Protect Our Heroes Act of 2020 to increase the production of PPE and spur oversight into the supply and distribution of these necessary medical supplies.
The bill would authorize:
$10 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to buy N-95 masks, nitrile gloves, gowns, face shields, surgical masks, and other necessary PPE products
$1 billion for the Small Business Administration to provide grants for businesses that equip facilities to produce critical protective equipment over the next two years
Preference on purchases from minority-owned and other underserved small businesses, such as those owned by service-disabled veterans
The bill would also mandate that:
The federal government release regular reports on the supplies needed to fight COVID-19 and provide direction for bolstering domestic manufacturing to provide those supplies.
The Government Accountability Office provide recommendations on how the president can existing authorities to purchase a sufficient supply of PPE to combat the virus.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) joined Baldwin in introducing the reform bill.
“Our frontline healthcare workers still don’t have the supplies they need,” Baldwin said. “The Protect Our Heroes Act of 2020 will increase production of personal protective equipment and make sure our frontline workers have it to protect themselves, treat patients, and save lives.”