Tillis introduces bipartisan bill to improve supply, management of Strategic National Stockpile

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) recently sponsored the Medical Supplies for Pandemics Act of 2020 to bolster the Strategic National Stockpile.

Sen. Tillis proposed S. 3827 with lead cosponsor U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) to rebuild the stockpile and strengthen the domestic manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) that would ensure the United States is better prepared for future public health emergencies.

“When the COVID-19 outbreak began, the Chinese government’s effort to cover up the severity of COVID-19 while stockpiling critical medical supplies hindered the United States’ ability to respond to the pandemic and made clear that our country is far too reliant on foreign nations to deal with future pandemics,” said Sen. Tillis, adding that the legislation would “make much-needed reforms to strengthen our ability to respond to future disasters and provide frontline workers the resources they need during public health emergencies.”

If enacted, S. 3827 would authorize $500 million annually through fiscal year 2023 to implement a supply chain flexibility manufacturing program to create incentives for domestic manufacturers of medical supplies, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Tillis’ office.

Additionally, the bill would establish and maintain domestic reserves of critical medical supplies, including PPE and diagnostic tests, and would require the government to work with medical supply distributors to manage domestic reserves held by the Strategic National Stockpile and to refresh and replenish supply stocks.

“We must improve our public health infrastructure based on lessons learned from this COVID-19 pandemic and ensure the Strategic National Stockpile is well equipped to support a response to a large-scale crisis,” said Sen. Bennet. “This bipartisan bill will help us ramp up America’s manufacturing and distribution of critical supplies like personal protective equipment so we are better prepared for the next national emergency and not beholden to countries like China.”

The measure has been referred to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee for consideration.