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Top Democrats Demand Answers On COVID-19 Supply Chain Problems From Trump Administration Officials

By: Rep. Don Beyer

April 21, 2020

A group of House Democrats today raised serious issues with the Trump Administration’s handling of the supply chain for COVID-19 response, and sought improved transparency and federal coordination to mitigate the inadequate, harmful, and dysfunctional engagement. The letter was signed by Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), David Price (D-NC), Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), Terri Sewell (D-AL), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA).

The Representatives wrote:

“Despite billions of dollars of taxpayer money dedicated by legislation for supplies, there is little understanding of federal government acquisitions and distributions, no public reporting, and continued unmet demand….Moreover, when there is federal purchasing, thus far it has been reported as insufficient or unhelpful.

“…Concerning that the role FEMA is playing is simply as a courier….In addition, FEMA is not directing private sector suppliers to send supplies to particular hospitals with urgent needs, instead they are only requiring distributors to agree to sell half of their shipments to customers in “hotspots,” with no clarity on what is considered a hotspot.”

“We do not have enough supply to meet demand, even when accounting for expedited importing and a surged traditional private sector supply chain….This has been a consistent theme of DPA usage and federal action, an unwillingness to use federal authority to work outside of the existing supply chain or voluntary engagement.”

The Members put a series of questions to the Administration officials, including Vice President Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, seeking answers and increased transparency on key supply chain problems.


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