Reps. Cisneros and Bacon Lead Bipartisan Letter to HHS and DOD on Replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile

May 14, 2020
Press Release

FULLERTON, CA - Today, Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39) and Don Bacon (R-NE-02) led a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar and Secretary of Defense (DOD) Mark Esper urging them to support small businesses producing personal protective equipment (PPE) and replenish the Strategic National Stockpile. The letter, which was signed by 25 Democratic and Republican House Members, called on HHS and DOD to use their existing authorities to prioritize the purchase of medical supplies from small businesses to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile. To view the letter, click here.

“In this time of global crisis, countless small businesses in our districts and across the country have stepped up to manufacture and distribute critical medical supplies needed for the COVID-19 response,” the Members wrote. “While these small businesses have been able to supply much-needed PPE to American families and healthcare workers on the frontlines, many have expressed concerns that uncertainty over future demand for such products could leave them with excess inventory and no market to serve.

“The use of the Strategic National Stockpile, while necessary, has proven to be insufficient and now must also be replenished. To support our small businesses as well as strengthen the domestic industrial base and supply chain for critical medical supplies, we urge you to use your existing authorities to prioritize the purchase of medical supplies from small businesses to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile. Stronger small businesses and a stronger domestic supply chain will not only better prepare us for the future, but it will also provide much needed support for our economy in a time of crisis.”

In particular, 50 U.S.C. 4533 provides the Executive the authority to purchase or commit to purchase industrial resources for government use or resale in order to “maintain, protect, expand, or restore” domestic industrial base capabilities essential for national defense” and 50 U.S.C. 4551 states that “Small business concerns shall be given the maximum practicable opportunity to participate as contractors, and subcontractors at various tiers, in all programs to maintain and strengthen the Nation’s industrial base.”

The letter was signed by 25 House Members: Representatives Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA-39), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), Troy Balderson (R-OH-12), Jim Banks (R-IN-03), Anthony Brindisi (D-NY-22), Salud Carbajal (D-CA-24), Angie Craig (D-MN-02), Sharice Davids (D-KS-03), Rodney Davis (R-IL-13), Jared Golden (D-ME-02), Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Elaine Luria (D-VA-02), Collin Peterson (R-MN-07), John Rose (R-TN-06), Max Rose (D-NY-11), Harley Rouda (D-CA-48), Austin Scott (R-GA-08), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Gregory Steube (R-FL-17), Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-02), Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), Filemon Vela (D-TX-34), and Joe Wilson (R-SC-02).