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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Max Rose (NY-11)

Video of the virtual forum HERE.

Congressman Max Rose, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, participated in a virtual forum today on coronavirus and the Federal government’s response in which he highlighted the important role the federal government should play in producing and securing critical supplies. Rose joined Congressman Donald Payne, Jr. of New Jersey, chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, & Recovery, and Ron Klain, Former White House Ebola Response Coordinator in today’s forum.

“I truly do believe that this is a monumental moment that is equivalent to total war and requires us to not only appropriate and allocate and distribute necessary resources, and really mobilize all of society, the private sector and the public,” Rose said in his opening statement. “But it is also a moment for us to learn lessons of the past, see what lessons learned from previous instances of us facing crisis like this, obviously not of this size, but nonetheless a similar issue. But I have no interest in using this moment for politics, for using this moment for unnecessary finger pointing. The purpose of this from my perspective is very simple: what do we have to do to prevent this from ever happening again? And two, what do we have to do to ease suffering as much as possible, as well as safely and responsibly opening up this economy.”

Rose then engaged in questioning Klain on the federal government’s role in providing critical supplies.

“I wanted to get down to this issue of critical supplies, because it strikes me as that’s really where this begins and ends, when it comes to the federal government’s role,” Rose said. “I agree that states and cities should be running testing centers; states, cities, regional coalitions can really lead the way on opening up—but they’re struggling right now for swabs. Here in the greatest country in the history of the world, we’re struggling to get glorified Q-Tips. Now, this doesn’t happen when there’s a surge in demand for energy, the oil market produces supply. So, it begs the question, why is the private sector not meeting demand?”

Klain responded, “Well Congressman, I think you do get it. I think your analysis is exactly right. If we want as a country, the people who make masks, who make the face shields, who make the other type of protective gear to make more of them, they have to know that we’re going to buy a large supply for a long time. And I think what they’re fearful of is that there will be changes in purchasing patterns. And the problem is the lack of federal leadership. Here’s why: if you’re there running one of these factories and the policy of the United States is that each state should order for itself, each hospital should order for itself, each pizza parlor should order masks for its pizza makers themselves—that’s our policy. So orders trickle in and come in from different places, you just don’t know how many orders there are going to be and how long they’re going to be there, or if things are going to change. So you see this reluctance of manufacturers to make the kinds of commitments you’re talking about. I think you’re spot on on this.”

Klain continued, “The solution is for the federal government to use the Defense Production Act, or some other tool, to place very, very large orders for a very, very long time to assure people that the demand will be there if they provide the supply.”

Rose has led efforts to utilize the full force of the federal government to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Rose introduced new legislation to establish a Director of Pandemic and Biodefense Preparedness and Response, which would be a new Cabinet-level position that will prepare for and coordinate the response to a pandemic, biological attack or other major health crisis. Rose also has been helping lead the charge in pushing the President to use his authority under the Defense Production Act for the production of vital medical supplies to meet the extreme demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rose has been continuing to lead efforts to ensure New York and all those impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis are made whole. Rose called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to include pandemic response efforts as eligible for hazard mitigation funding in addition to urging FEMA to waive the 25 percent state match for FEMA funding and to approve all outstanding requests by New York State for badly needed aid, including Individual Assistance which would help with burial assistance, unemployment, shelter, and food assistance.