(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10) and 23 House colleagues in calling for the creation an emergency COVID-19 medical supply chain authority, or “supply chain czar,” with statutory authority to oversee the manufacturing and distribution of ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other critical supplies.
In a letter to House and Senate Leadership urging they make the czar position a priority in any upcoming coronavirus relief packages, the Members of Congress write the role should have the “expressed goal of streamlining and expediting delivery of in-demand supplies, while also reducing or eliminating the inter-state bidding wars that are driving up prices.”
The Members of Congress point to price-gouging tactics by some suppliers, challenges facing manufacturers operating without federal direction, and insufficient supply of critical equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile as additional reasons why a supply chain czar is vital.
“Like so many of our governors, mayors and hospital and frontline workers, I am incredibly frustrated by the Administration’s convoluted, slow, and inexcusably political response to the severe shortages of PPE and other medical equipment facing our communities,” said Schneider, explaining why he led the letter. “Governors across the country have shown tremendous leadership, but the lack of clear direction from the White House is creating bidding wars between providers, states, and federal agencies, and wasting critical time and resources. We desperately need a singular, competent, and non-political supply chain authority to successfully coordinate our national response.”
The letter was signed by U.S. Representatives Brad Schneider, Katherine Clarke, Angie Craig, Thomas R. Suozzi, Jan Schakowsky, Raúl M. Grijalva, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jahana Hayes, Jim Cooper, Terri Sewell, Jamie Raskin, Grace F. Napolitano, Harley Rouda, Danny K. Davis, Cheri Bustos, Judy Chu, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Suzan DelBene, Ted Deutch, Seth Moulton, Kendra S. Horn, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, J. Luis Correa, Matt Cartwright, and David Trone.