WASHINGTON (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham has introduced a bill that aims at investing in the domestic production of personal protective equipment within the U.S.
The "U.S. MADE Act of 2020", introduced alongside Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R - W. Va.) and Mike Rounds (R - S.D.), would set requirements for PPE acquisition for the Strategic National Stockpile. The bill, if passed, would also establish an investment credit for qualifying PPE manufacturing profects. Eligible U.S. manufacturers would get a 30% credit against equipment costs associated with manufacturing PPE. A joint statement from the senators notes the bill is modeled after the Berry Amendment.
Some of the items defined as PPE that were made national priorities by the bill include:
- Testing swabs
- Surgical and respirator masks
- Face shields
- Surgical and isolation gowns
- Sanitizing and disinfecting wipes
- Gauzes and bandages
- Privacy curtains, beds, and bedding
The key sticking point of the bill is the United States' reliance on PPE amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically on a lack of self-sufficiency. The bill's goal is to decrease dependency on PPE manufactured overseas, specifically on products made in China.
“Coronavirus has been a painful wake-up call that we are too reliant on nations like China for critical medical supplies,” said Graham. “Without changes, China remains set to dominate the PPE market for years to come. We have seen firsthand the problems not having a reliable source of PPE places on our health care system. It is my hope that we include this legislation in any additional Phase IV relief package. The Chinese grip on this critical supply chain must come to an end and this legislation accomplishes that goal. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that South Carolina leads the way when it comes to getting the medical supply chain out of China.”
“One of our biggest takeaways from coronavirus is that we really need to reassess our medical supply chain. It’s so important that we take every opportunity to buy American made products and support American business,” said Senator Capito. “We must do all we can to encourage economic development in our country and give our businesses the resources they need to make it through this difficult time, which is why this legislation is so critical. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the U.S. MADE Act of 2020, which prioritizes American manufacturing and supports our workforce. This legislation makes critical changes that will lessen our dependence on other countries like China when it comes to manufacturing testing agents and PPE materials so we can deliver resources quickly and efficiently, while also supporting our own economy.”