Lawmakers call on administration to prioritize U.S. PPE production

Posted January 27, 2021


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On January 25, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and U.S. Rep. Kathy Manning (D-N.C.) wrote to President Biden calling on the administration to prioritize purchasing fully made in America personal protective equipment (PPE).


The lawmakers outline four steps the administration can take now to ensure U.S. frontline workers have products needed to effectively carryout their critical responsibilities and to support domestic manufacturers who are ready to scale up production and help keep workers healthy and safe.


“This industry retooled production chains in the spring to respond to the crisis as international supply chains broke down,” the lawmakers wrote. “Domestic production capabilities for essential products like isolation gowns, N95 masks, testing swabs and other critical products have grown exponentially since the beginning of the crisis. However, regrettably, we have too many manufacturers in our states and across the nation that have capacity but no orders to supply. With so many capable domestic manufacturers making quality product, the U.S. textile and nonwovens industries are eager to work to ensure you are getting the quality product you need when you need it.”


In their letter, Brown and Manning call on President Biden, through Executive Order and legislative efforts, to:


  1. Prioritize the purchase of fully made in America PPE “Berry compliant” to help continue bolstering the U.S. supply chain regardless of purchasing agency; 

  2. Issue long-term contracts directly to domestic manufacturers when possible to help bolster the domestic supply chains;

  3. Adopt a contracting purchase methodology that uses “Best Value” criteria versus “Lowest Price Technically Acceptable” criteria; and

  4. Designate a point person in charge of coordinating the government’s efforts to procure PPE and other medical equipment who is responsible for meeting regularly with key domestic manufacturing stakeholders. 


Taken together, these measures would help ensure frontline workers have the critical PPE they need while also supporting American manufacturers and their workers. Scaled up production of domestic PPE would help keep American workers safe while also bolstering the economy in states like Ohio and North Carolina with a rich history of manufacturing.


Brown has introduced legislation, the Protecting American Heroes Act, to help increase the U.S. stockpile of PPE and allow for a quick ramp up of American production of PPE in any future emergency. Brown also wrote to President Trump outlining several steps the administration should take immediately to address the shortage and ramp up manufacturing of these critical medical supplies. 


Manning, the newly elected representative from North Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District, represents several PPE manufacturers located in central North Carolina. The Sixth District and the state of North Carolina are home to a robust textile industry with deep roots in local economies across the state.


A full copy of Brown and Manning’s letter can be found here.


Sources: Offices of Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Kathy Manning

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