Reps. Schrier and Brooks Introduce Bipartisan SAFE Act to Improve Strategic National Stockpile
ISSAQUAH, WA – Congresswomen Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA08) and Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) have introduced H.R. 6517, the Stockpiling for America’s Future Endeavors (SAFE) Act to improve our nation’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The SAFE Act will allow the SNS to accept gifts from companies and individuals who have a surplus of product or wish to make cash donations.
“The Strategic National Stockpile is meant to be a resource during a crisis,” said Rep. Schrier. “The size of this pandemic has shown that the SNS is not adequately stocked with enough equipment to keep up with state and national needs to protect frontline workers and keep our communities safe. In this interconnected world, it is more likely than not that we will face a pandemic again. This commonsense legislation will eliminate red tape and allow for donations to the SNS in addition to what Congress allocates, so our country is better prepared to act when the next emergency happens.”
Under current law, the SNS cannot accept gifts from companies or individuals without going through a complex transaction with the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) and General Services Administration (GSA). In practice, very few of these donations are accepted because of this complexity. The SAFE Act would allow the Secretary of HHS to authorize these donations directly and place them into the stockpile for disbursement.
“In the beginning of this unprecedented pandemic, as our country faced a critical shortage of personal protective equipment to keep citizens save from the virus, many Hoosier nonprofits and businesses stepped up to donate this equipment but unfortunately had no direct way to donate these crucial supplies to the national stockpile,” said Rep. Brooks. “This bipartisan legislation is the commonsense solution to make our Strategic National Stockpile work better by preventing future shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies. The SAFE Act will allow the Strategic National Stockpile to more quickly connect the manufacturers of product to our heroes on the frontlines who need these supplies the most.”
FEMA is currently accepting gifts on behalf of the SNS, but this arrangement will only last for the duration of the national emergency. Once the emergency ends, we will revert to the system where it is very difficult for gifts to be accepted into the SNS, which is why this legislation is needed.