Contained within the sprawling provisions of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act signed into law this week are production-minded provisions that will require federal agencies to focus long-term personal protective equipment (PPE) production on domestic companies.
These provisions stem from the Make PPE In America Act, the bipartisan brainchild of U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, respectively.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made it evident that the American people should not have to rely so heavily on foreign countries for personal protective equipment, and that’s why I’m pleased that our bipartisan Make PPE In America Act was signed into law as a part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act to bring PPE production back to our shores,” Portman said. “When I talk to PPE manufacturers about re-shoring this production to America, the number one thing I hear about is the need for long-term contracts. Multi-year contracts as required in this legislation will give producers the certainty to know that their investment in the United States will be worth it because the government will be there to buy the PPE they produce.”
Now law, the pair’s legislation will require procurement contracts for PPE to be for at least three years, including a base period and all option periods. Domestically manufactured PPE will be emphasized, but this will also apply to their materials and components.
“Manufacturing PPE in America will not only ensure our nation is better prepared to combat the COVID pandemic and future public health emergencies but will create good-paying jobs in Michigan and across the country,” Peters said. “I’ve long raised concerns that our overreliance on foreign sources for medical equipment presents a significant national security threat and, at the onset of the COVID pandemic, we saw how a shortage of supplies — including PPE — harmed communities across the nation.”
The new law will specifically apply to contracts from the U.S. Departments of Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Defense, Education, or Veterans Affairs.