WASHINGTON — U.S. Congressman Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5) joined a group of bipartisan original cosponsors to introduce the bipartisan Made in America Emergency Preparedness Act. The COVID-19 crisis has shown us that we must do more, as a government and with private industry, to prepare for the next national emergency.
After 9/11, we as a nation said “Never Again”. And in response to this current crisis, we must never again find ourselves caught off-guard, unable to protect our communities. We should never again see 200,000 American lives at risk and day to day life turned upside down. This legislation focuses on ensuring our nation is taking the necessary steps to mitigate the impacts of future national emergencies, improve responsiveness, and save lives, Gottheimer said.
To accomplish this, the legislation authorizes the creation of a National Commission on United States Preparedness for National Emergencies. This Commission would be modeled on the 9/11 Commission, and would look at the national emergency response by the United States government and private sector to this pandemic. The Commission would report findings to Congress and the President on what steps and items are necessary to ensure America’s effective response to future national emergencies, Gottheimer said.
States that fail to implement the findings of the Commission’s report by 2025 would lose access to federal funds designated for emergency preparedness, unless DHS can certify that the state is working in good faith to implement the findings of the Commission. States would be required to be recertified every fiscal year, Gottheimer said.
The Commission would also be required to provide a report and recommendations to the President on goods that are essential to a response to a national emergency and must be manufactured in the United States. To ensure that our federal procurement supply chains are more self-sufficient and can rely on more domestic sources of production, this bill also mandates that by 2025, federal agencies responsible for responding to national emergencies are procuring essential supplies, like medication and personal protective equipment from domestic sources or manufacturing right here in the United States. Specifically, goods procured by the Departments of Defense (DOD), Homeland Security (DHS), and Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Institute of Health (NIH) would be manufactured by American businesses, allowing our national supply chain and domestic stockpile to become more reliant on American manufacturing, Gottheimer said.
“Right now, we are seeing how a major public health emergency is impacting every part of our country — from workers and families, to businesses of all sizes, to resources our residents and health care workers need to survive,” Gottheimer said. “Moving forward, our government and private sector will need to learn from this crisis, assess the gaps, and better prepare for future national emergencies. We simply can’t rely on the rest of the world to build our ventilators, supply our medicine, and construct our masks and gowns. This bipartisan legislation will establish a bipartisan federal Commission to help ensure our nation’s government and industries are better prepared for the next crisis.”
Finally, to help incentivize businesses and manufacturers to come into compliance with the federal procurement requirements and encourage domestic production, this bill would allow immediate expensing for firms that incur costs associated with expanded pharmaceutical or medical device manufacturing within the United States, including personal protective equipment and any other item determined by the National Commission on United States Preparedness for National Emergencies to be necessary, Gottheimer said.
This bipartisan legislation is being cosponsored by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), along with Congressmen Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Tom Reed (NY-23), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), Will Hurd (TX-23), Tom Suozzi (NY-03) and Dean Phillips (MN-03).