WASHINGTON – US Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun, both Republicans, joined a bipartisan push to urge the COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) to prioritize the procurement of American-made PPE, and to consider comprehensive measures in order to bring supply chains back to American soil.
“We strongly urge you to give full preference to items made at least in part in the U.S. over those that are wholly made abroad,” the senators wrote in a letter to Ellen Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and head of the JATF. “These orders are even more critical to the manufacturing sector at this time. Many domestic producers have submitted proposals with both full, or substantially, domestic production chains, and we urge the Department in this contract review process to give all these offers the fullest consideration possible.”
The senators urged JATF to incentivize American manufacturing of PPE by:
1. Enforcing strong domestic content rules like the Berry Amendment, a proven model for ensuring essential long-term investment in the PPE supply chain in the U.S. Applying this domestic sourcing requirement to PPE purchases is critical to helping build a strong domestic supply chain now and into the foreseeable future.
2. Ensuring any future PPE procurement includes long-term contracts and minimizes the use of Domestic Non-Availability Determination (DNADs). Applying this strategic approach will provide U.S. producers sufficient time and certainty to expand existing production or bring new production online.
3. Using the full range of powerful authorities provided in the Defense Production Act (DPA), which it has already triggered to bolster American manufacturers’ ability to produce urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.