In a Subcommittee on Health hearing today (Wednesday) with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) called for the Federal Government to prioritize buying American-made personal protective equipment (PPE).
A transcript of a key exchange between Griffith and Becerra is below:
Griffith: So what are we going to do? Do we need – and I would submit that we do, but I want your opinion – do we need a Berry-style amendment to say that the Federal Government’s going to buy its PPE from American manufacturers? Because if not, every time we have a crisis, we’re going to have another boom and bust. You said earlier you didn’t like boom and bust funding. That’s what these small businesses in the United States are now facing who are willing to make the PPE, make it at a reasonable cost, and sell it to whomever. But if they’re just going to get shut down every time by markets overseas, it doesn’t make sense. And it doesn’t make sense for long-term policy in the United States. What say you, Mr. Secretary?
Becerra: Congressman, what I say is I am with you in everything you just said. If we didn’t learn a lesson from COVID that too much of our supply was not at our disposal – and by the way, that is a risk for the life and health of our people if we have to depend on others – then we’re in trouble.
Not only that, why is it that we can’t have Americans producing what Americans need?