News Releases

Led by Senator Murray, a group of Senate Democrats introduced the Protect our Heroes Act of 2020

Senator Murray: “It’s inexcusable that across the country health professionals are still being forced to reuse PPE and states, Tribes, communities, and medical facilities are being left to fend for themselves and bid against each other for scarce supplies”

New legislation authorizes $10 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile to purchase personal protective equipment, including N-95 masks

The Protect Our Heroes Act Of 2020 uses the Defense Production Act as well as FEMA And HHS authorities to spur development, investment and production of medical supplies needed to combat COVID-19

New bill provides $1 Billion in grants for small businesses that retool domestic facilities to produce critical PPE

Senator Murray: “I’m pushing for this legislation to provide much needed funding to ramp up PPE production, and I hope to work with the incoming Biden Administration to provide something else that has been severely lacking as well—federal leadership”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, along with Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), unveiled the Protect Our Heroes Act of 2020, a bill that will increase the production of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) like N-95 masks and improve the transparency of the supply and distribution of medical supplies needed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Managing the supply chain to ensure adequate PPE is pandemic response 101, yet months into this crisis the Trump Administration still hasn’t learned its lesson,” said Senator Murray. “Shortages of PPE can put lives in danger, put strain on hospitals, nursing homes, other health care facilities, and testing facilities, and can even hinder vaccine administration when the time comes. It’s inexcusable that across the country health professionals are still being forced to reuse PPE and states, Tribes, communities, and medical facilities are being left to fend for themselves and bid against each other for scarce supplies. I’m pushing for this legislation to provide much needed funding to ramp up PPE production, and I hope to work with the incoming Biden Administration to provide something else that has been severely lacking as well—federal leadership.”

The bill is introduced as coronavirus cases are spiking across the country and as frontline health care workers are facing shortages of critical protective equipment. The Senate Democrats’ bill authorizes $10 billion for the strategic national stockpile to purchase critical PPE, including N-95 masks, nitrile gloves, gowns, face shields, surgical masks, and more. This investment will provide certainty to manufacturers that there will be a market when they scale up their production.

The bill also uses the Defense Production Act (DPA) as well as authorities in the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to spur the development, investment, and production of critical PPE, addressing requests from governors. The Protect Our Heroes Act of 2020 also authorizes $1 billion for the Small Business Administration to provide grants for small business that retool domestic facilities to produce critical protective equipment over the next two years, with preferences available for minority-owned and other underserved small businesses as well as those owned by service disabled veterans, with considerations for other veteran-owned businesses.

Finally, the bill requires the federal government to release reports regularly on the supplies needed to fight COVID-19 and provide direction for bolstering domestic manufacturing to provide those supplies. It also mandates the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provide recommendations on how the President may use existing authorities to purchase a sufficient supply of PPE to combat this virus.

Senator Murray has previously led efforts in the Senate to bolster the federal government’s pandemic response, and has introduced and championed legislation to strengthen investments in the nation’s public health infrastructure, including PPE.