(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) joined Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, and 64 House colleagues in sending a letter to President Trump calling on him to marshal Department of Defense (DOD) resources to defend the homeland against COVID-19.
“Given the severity and scope of this crisis, we believe it is necessary to engage all elements of our national power in formulating an effective homeland defense,” wrote the Members. “DOD has a range of assets that can be utilized to help contain, treat, and ultimately prevent spread of the virus. We hope that you will proactively prepare and use these resources in support of civilian authorities, as appropriate, rather than wait for an escalating crisis to force your hand."
The letter goes on to highlight a number of ways DOD authorities, resources, and capabilities could be used to support the response to COVID-19, citing current authorities and past precedent. Some of these options include constructing mobile hospitals, aiding vaccine research and development, and manufacturing emergency equipment, and making some equipment – like ventilators – available when possible.
The Members also asked the President to keep them informed within 82 hours of any planned employment of these authorities and resources so Congress can provide a proper response and funding for these efforts.
A copy of the letter is available here.