(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Anthony G. Brown (MD-04) and seven members from the National Capital Region Delegation in sending a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf urging the Administration to fully invoke the Defense Production Act to ensure local medical professionals have the equipment they need to stop the spread of COVID-19.

In Maryland, D.C and Virginia, the number of coronavirus related deaths continues to grow exponentially. Public health experts project that the region is roughly two weeks behind New York’s surge of cases. Meanwhile, health systems throughout the DMV have said they cannot procure the necessary medical equipment to prepare. The Members of Congress request the Trump Administration utilize the Defense Production Act to ensure a coordinated, national distribution of scarce resources in the name of national defense.

“Given the critical nature of the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) to the operation of our federal government, the lack of resources in this region threatens our entire nation’s ability to respond to this crisis,” the lawmakers wrote. “The citizens of the region are critical to the national response in providing medical guidance, granting research funds for treatments, issuing tax rebates, guaranteeing our distribution networks are operational, and other crucial functions.” 

Joining Congressmen Raskin and Brown are Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Congressman Don Beyer (VA-08), Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02), Congressman David Trone (MD-06) and Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (VA-10).

“The federal government is more than just a shipping clerk. It is the largest, most powerful organization in the world with the ability to take action to ensure all Americans receive the care that they require in these dangerous times,” the lawmakers concluded. 

A copy of the letter is available here.