Portman, Brown Press COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force to Prioritize Procurement of US-Made PPE

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

Press Release

This press release was originally published June 24, 2020. It highlights a Senatorial initiative to reshore production of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the United States and strengthen domestic supply chains.

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are urging the COVID-19 Joint Acquisition Task Force (JATF) to prioritize the procurement of American-made PPE, and to consider comprehensive measures to incentivize the reshoring of additional PPE production back to the United States. JATF was created to synchronize and support execution of the Department of Defense’s COVID-19 response to interagency requests for medical resources involving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Health and Human Services, and other agencies.

“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.

In addition to Brown and Portman, the letter was also signed by Sens. Mike Braun (R-IN), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Todd Young (R-IN), Chris Coons (D-DE) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), John Cornyn (R-TX), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

A copy of Portman and Brown’s letter can be read here.

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