(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - Congressman Jamie Raskin today joined U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Representatives Steny Hoyer, Anthony Brown and David Trone (all D-Md.) in writing to FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor urging the Administration to increase the federal government’s allotment of emergency medical supplies and equipment to the National Capital Region. The bipartisan letter was also signed by U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (D-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Mark Warner (D-VA).
In their letter, the Members said, “We write to express our concern that the National Capital Region is not being prioritized appropriately for the scale of the COVID-19 impact on the region. FEMA had provided only a fraction of each jurisdiction’s request for personal protective equipment and medical supplies, leaving massive shortfalls. Because of the unique nature of the interconnectedness of the National Capital Region, through transport, work, and commerce, lack of resources in one area inherently affects the others. It is important for supplies allocation to recognize that unique quality and plan appropriately for the Region.”
They continued, “In their most recent request, Virginia, Maryland and the District received a very small percentage of the equipment they asked for from FEMA.”
The Members urged, “Our jurisdictions cannot wait until the surge is here if we need supplies now. We expect to become a new epicenter of infection in coming weeks despite the recently implemented ‘stay-at-home’ orders. We ask that you place a higher attention and consideration for supplies to the National Capital Region.”
Their letter followed the release of House Oversight and Reform Committee documents showing that Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia all received significantly less medical equipment from FEMA distributions of the Strategic National Stockpile than some other states. The federal government’s failure to meet the medical supply needs of area governments came as Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House response, cited the Washington D.C. region as a particular concern.
Text of the letter follows below and a signed copy is available here.