If the coronavirus pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the United States needs to take steps to reduce our reliance on foreign countries for manufacturing and goods. When the pandemic hit, our Strategic National Stockpile was woefully understocked, China was hoarding necessary supplies - down to the cotton needed for the swabs used to administer COVID-19 tests - and the crisis was made even worse. Our frontline health care workers paid the price for our lack of preparedness, forced to reuse personal protective equipment (PPE) and ration care to patients.
We’ve got to learn from our mistakes, ramp up domestic production and make sure that our stockpile is...stocked. We can never again allow China or any of our adversaries to have the upperhand in a crisis. Thankfully, the House passed a bipartisan package this week to do just that.
The Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act will increase the American production of PPE, improve maintenance of the items in the stockpile to make sure they’re ready to be used if needed and increase transparency by requiring reports to Congress on the status of the stockpile.
It’s clear that we cannot wait for another once-in-a-generation crisis to address these issues. We need to get ahead of the curve and ensure that we are ready.