WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers say it’s past time for the U.S. to stop relying on China for personal protective equipment.
“A lot of the masks, gloves, gowns, respirators are being manufactured in China,” West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said.
Capito and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham say this makes the country vulnerable and poses a national security issue.
“We’re having to beg China and other places in the world to get the equipment we need to run our hospitals,” Graham said.
Both Republican senators introduced a bill to decrease U.S. dependence on countries, like China, for PPE.
“Let’s face it, if we’re in a pandemic, it’s every man for himself, every country for themselves and we want to be self-reliant,” Capito said.
Capito and Graham say the goal is to break the chain of dependency, encourage more domestic production, and increase employment. Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner says this bill is one he can support.
“I am very concerned with the Communist Party of China’s approach towards America, towards the West, and I think we have to be on guard,” Warner said.
The bill would also add to the National Stockpile through the Berry Amendment, which requires military uniforms be made in America.
“I want to add PPE to that, made in America, so that our stockpile will be made by American companies and we’ll no longer beholden to China. We can do this with tax cuts and changing our laws,” Graham said.
If passed, U.S. manufacturers would receive a thirty percent credit against equipment costs for PPE development.