WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers say the coronavirus pandemic has taught the U.S. to better protect the reliability of its medical supply chains. As demand continues, members of Congress are looking to see what was the root cause.
“Is this the United States of America? We can’t make enough gloves and masks and gowns,” Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey said.
Casey says America needs to get to work to protect and improve the nation’s medical supply chain.
“The same country that put a man on the moon more than 50 years ago ought to be able to produce enough gowns and masks and other protective equipment,” Casey said.
Casey blames the failure to supply enough personal protective equipment to American frontline workers on the president and his administration.
“If you’re a commander-in-chief and you’ve got a war against a virus, you have to act like it every day,” Casey said.
While Casey and other Democrats criticize the administration, Republicans, like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, say China is to blame.
“China’s decision to redirect medical supplies occurred when states, territories, localities and tribes began to desperately need these critical supplies,” Grassley said.
Grassley says the U.S. must bring home production of these critical products.
“We cannot allow our supply chain to be so heavily reliant upon other countries,” Grassley said.
Montana Sen. Steve Daines says expanding production in the U.S. will also help ease American unemployment.
“End [our] reliance on China for drugs, medical manufacturing and bring those jobs back to the U.S,” Daines said.
While the Department of Homeland Security says it is prioritizing the purchase of domestic supplies, Republicans and Democrats say an increase in U.S. production will make America stronger now and better prepared for the next pandemic.