WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Martha McSally (R-AZ), Senate Banking Committee members, on Wednesday introduced the Securing America’s Vaccines for Emergencies (SAVE) Act. This legislation would diversify the country’s medical supply chain and reduce U.S. dependence on China.

“No free country should have to rely on communists to get life-saving medical resources,” Cramer said. “The SAVE Act bolsters our medical supply chain, both now during COVID-19 and in the event of future emergencies. I thank Senator McSally for her leadership in introducing this legislation, and I urge my colleagues to support it.”

“The United States should never be dependent on a communist adversary to secure lifesaving medicines for Americans,” McSally said. “The coronavirus pandemic has underscored the significant risk of overreliance on China for medical supplies. This legislation is more important than ever to ensure the safety of American citizens by decreasing this reliance. It will also ensure that after the pandemic passes, America can maintain this independence going forward.”

Representative French Hill (R-AR) is introducing companion legislation in the House.

Background:

  • The SAVE Act amends the Defense Production Act (DPA) to prioritize the availability of medical articles and give the government more control over industrial production during emergencies.
  • President Trump invoked the DPA on March 18, 2020, to direct businesses to expand and strengthen production of personal protection equipment.
  • This bill works to provide Americans ready access to medical supplies during the national emergency.
  • The SAVE Act accomplishes these goals by strengthening the Statement of Policy within the DPA that the President should use DPA authority to prioritize the availability of medical articles and the protect the supply chain used for the production of these supplies. Additionally, this bill reinforces that the President can incentivize companies to make available medical articles essential for national defense and requires the President to create a strategy on securing medical article supply chains, including for drugs that diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent disease.  The report must include vulnerabilities to the supply chain and recommend measures needed to ensure security of the supply chain and that it is not under the exclusive control of a foreign government that could threaten our national security.
  • The President is required to submit an annual report to Congress on the effectiveness of expanded authority or actions under the DPA pertaining to supply chains.