Tester Leads Push to Speed Up Production, Delivery of Critical Medical Supplies

Senator: “I will keep fighting to hold Washington accountable to ensure Montana’s frontline workers get the supplies they need”

U.S. Senator Jon Tester is leading a push to streamline the federal response to COVID-19 and speed up production and delivery of critical medical supplies and equipment under the Defense Production Act (DPA).

Tester is cosponsoring the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act to provide a much-needed federal framework for effective response to COVID-19 by establishing an Executive Officer at the Department of Defense with all the authorities of the DPA to oversee acquisition and logistics for COVID-19 equipment production.

“The first step in getting back to normal is making sure Montana has the testing and supplies to slow the spread of the virus and keep folks healthy,” Tester said. “This bill will marshal our response and make sure critically needed supplies are being produced quickly and moving through the supply chain efficiently to get where they’re most needed in short order. I will keep fighting to hold Washington accountable to ensure Montana’s frontline workers get the supplies they need.”

Tester’s bill would also give Tribal governments parity with states in requesting supplies from the federal government, and establish an independent Inspector General to oversee the bill’s implementation. It would also require a weekly national assessment to determine national critical equipment supply and needs, and improve transparency by requiring this information to be publically posted with data on requests and supply delivery benchmarks.

The bill would also require the development of a nationwide plan for viral and antibody coronavirus testing.

After 72 hours of negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short for Montana, Tester voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak. This funding included $1.25 billion for the state of Montana, which was delivered to the state last week.

Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak