Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) to bolster the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) on Sept. 21 received approval by the U.S. House of Representatives, which advanced the bill to the U.S. Senate for action.
“I am pleased this bipartisan legislation passed the House, and I encourage my Senate colleagues to move on this crucial legislation promptly,” Rep. Brooks said.
The Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act, H.R. 7574, introduced in July by lead original cosponsor Rep. Brooks and bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), would reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of critical medical supplies needed to fight the current COVID-19 pandemic by improving and updating the SNS and boosting U.S. manufacturing of supplies.
“This unprecedented pandemic has demonstrated the importance of reinforcing our Strategic National Stockpile,” said Rep. Brooks. “We need to ensure it is capable of responding to a diverse range of threats, including disasters with long-term, sustained demand like COVID-19.”
If enacted, H.R. 7574 would increase annual authorized funding for SNS operations from $610 million to $705 million for fiscal years 2020 through 2023 and would increase the manufacturing of critical supplies by creating a $500 million pilot program to allow the SNS to partner directly with manufacturers to expand domestic production capacity across the country, replenish existing supplies, and strengthen the supply chains, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Brooks’ office.
Additionally, the bill would ensure stockpiled items are in good working order and ready to use if and when a crisis hits by requiring regular maintenance, and would improve stockpile financial security and reduce waste by allowing the SNS to sell items out of its inventory to other federal agencies, among numerous other provisions, according to the summary.
“I’m thrilled that [H.R. 7574] passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in the House,” added Rep. Slotkin. “After fighting to get masks from China to hospitals here in my district, I introduced this bipartisan legislation to reduce our dependence on foreign suppliers, improve our ability to protect our frontline workers, and help make more critical medical supplies here in America.”
Among the members who joined Rep. Brooks as an original cosponsor of H.R. 7574 were U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Buddy Carter (R-GA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA).