House passes bill aimed to bolster federal stockpile of medical equipment for future use

Washington DC

WASHINGTON D.C. (WCMH) — There’s a rare moment of agreement in Washington D.C. this week after the House passed a major bill aimed at keeping Americans safe during a future national emergency.

Michigan Democratic Representative Debbie Dingell remembers getting calls earlier this year from people desperate to find personal protective equipment.

“What happened can never ever happen again,” Rep. Dingell said. “We had workers wearing garbage bags.”

This week, Dingell joined other Democrats and Republicans who say it’s time to rebuild the nation’s strategic stockpile.

“The national stockpile did what it could based on the funding that it had, which was clearly not enough,” said Indiana Republican Representative Susan Brooks.

As the virus spread, states struggled to get supplies from the federal stockpile. Brooks says Congress should increase funding and keep supplies fresh.

“Ensuring that our doctors and nurses and frontline folks have the PPE and supplies they need to do their jobs,” she said.

Michigan Democratic Representative Elissa Slotkin says emergency supplies need to be made in the U.S.

“To ensure we never again are dependent on foreign suppliers for the supplies we need to keep America safe,” Rep. Slotkin said.

Indiana Republican Representative Jackie Walorski said the U.S. was heavily dependent on China for those supplies.

“It’s time to break that dependence,” Rep. Walorski said.

The bill passed the House with wide support from both sides.

“To me, it’s an example of what we can accomplish even in our country’s most challenging moments,” Rep. Slotkin said.

The bill now heads to the Senate but despite support, it’s unclear when or if a vote will happen.

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