ICYMI: Rep. Hill Op-Ed in the Washington Times SAVE Act will make America less dependent on foreign manufacturers like China

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, following Rep. French Hill's (AR0-02) introduction of H.R. 6399, the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act, the below op-ed by Rep. Hill appeared in the Washington Times, highlighting the need to amend the Defense Production Act (DPA) to reduce American’s dependence of foreign nations for medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.

Rep. Hill argues that securing America's medical supply chain is a matter of national security. Rep.Hill also asserts that the SAVE Act is necessary – especially in public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic– because it will help ensure that the United States has the medical supplies and pharmaceuticals necessary to keep Arkansans and Americans safe.

The full op-ed is copied below.

(SAVE) Act will make America less dependent on foreign manufacturers like China
Washington Times
By: Congressman French Hill
April 16, 2020

On March 18, 2020, President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA), a legacy of the Korean conflict. 

In order to understand what it means today we need go back in time to the passage of the First and Second War Powers Act of 1941 and 1942, respectively, which were the inspiration of the DPA as we now know it. These were emergency laws created to increase President Roosevelt’s executive power and authority to execute World War II.

Following the end of the war, the authority granted by the law subsided. However, when North Korea invaded South Korea in June 1950, President Truman believed there was again a need for stronger executive authority in the interest of national defense; Congress agreed, and the DPA was signed into law on Sept. 8, 1950.

Over the years, the DPA has evolved and been reauthorized more than 50 times. Today, it provides the president with a broad set of authorities to ensure that domestic industry can meet national defense requirements. 

The DPA includes a finding by Congress that “the security of the United States is dependent on the ability of the domestic industrial base to supply materials and services for the national defense and to prepare for and respond to military conflicts, natural or man-caused disasters, or acts of terrorism within the United States.” 

To that end, during times of war, which includes natural disasters like the current COVID-19 pandemic, the president can and has invoked his power to ramp up manufacturing and distribution of various materials — this time for medical supplies. 

The DPA’s legislative jurisdiction within the U.S. House of Representatives falls to the Financial Services Committee, specifically the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development and Monetary Policy, on which I serve as the ranking member. In early March, as this virus was gaining momentum, I saw the need to create legislation that would amend the DPA to use the authority to ensure the availability of medical equipment and pharmaceutical supplies, not only during our current health crisis, but also in the future. 

My bill, H.R. 6399, the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act, ensures that America diversifies its medical supply chain, with the intent of making the United States less dependent on foreign manufacturers, like China. It also helps find pharmaceutical solutions to ensure we combat this virus in the short-, medium- and long-term. 

Over the last few weeks, we have seen countless media articles outlining shortfalls of ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE) which our medical professionals desperately need. Through President Trump’s invocation of the DPA, America can immediately leverage its own supply chains to redirect resources to find solutions to these shortfalls, which is positive and a definite necessity. 

However, considering our long run strategy, I remain concerned with our dependence on foreign pharmaceutical supply chains, which are largely dominated by China and India. A recent Morgan Stanley investor call warned that the pandemic threatens our critical drug supply chains and could cause significant disruption to pharmaceutical supply chains over the next several months. 

Therefore, a key provision in my legislation requires the president’s administration to develop a strategy on how to diversify supply chains, specifically as it relates to “drugs that diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease.” This strategy will ensure that both the medical device and pharmaceutical supply chains in America not only remain intact but are measurably protected and enhanced. 

Enacting the SAVE Act will diversify America’s medical and pharmaceutical supply chains, helping today to alleviate reliance on foreign countries and to create treatments to mitigate the harm caused by COVID-19.

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.