Brown, Baldwin Urge Federal Agencies to Purchase American-Made PPE



 

Letters Were Sent to HHS Secretary Becerra, VA Secretary McDonough, and DHS Secretary Mayorkas Urging Them to Enter into Long-Term Agreements with American PPE Manufacturers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 25, 2022 – Today, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) sent letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging them to enter into long-term contracts for American-made masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to support domestic PPE manufacturers. This letter follows passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which included a provision based on the Make PPE in America Act, which requires federal agencies to ensure all contracts for PPE and their material and component parts are at least two years long and are for products manufactured in the United States.
“American companies have stepped up throughout the past two years, retooling manufacturing lines to help compensate for supply chain weaknesses and meet the need for essential products, including N95 respirator masks and other PPE,” wrote the senators. “These companies saved American lives. Domestic PPE production is resilient in the face of global supply chain disruptions like those caused by COVID-19, ensures PPE meets the highest quality standards, and supports American industry.”
The letter requests an update from each agency on its progress in implementing the provisions of IIJA that requires HHS, VA, and DHS to enter into long-term contracts for American-made masks and other PPE. Providing the domestic PPE industry with a strong and consistent demand by entering into long-term contracts with domestic manufacturers will help strengthen the domestic PPE industry and ensure the federal government has sufficient high-quality PPE to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future health care emergencies.
In January, Brown and Baldwin sent letters to President Joe Biden, Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton, and Secretary of the Senate Sonceria Ann Berry, urging them to prioritize the purchase of masks made in the U.S. with U.S. materials. Brown and Baldwin are pushing to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are spent on American products made by American workers. Their letters followed the recent announcement by President Biden that his administration is providing hundreds of millions of high-quality masks at no-cost to Americans. Brown and Baldwin’s letter urged the President to ensure future purchases – including those to replenish the strategic national stockpile and those to support access to free masks for children – prioritize masks made in the U.S. with U.S. materials.
The full letter can be found here.