Following Tester Efforts, Biden Signs Executive Order Utilizing Defense Production Act to Bolster COVID-19 Vaccine & Supply Chains

Senator pushed legislation to streamline the federal response to COVID-19 and expedite the procurement of medical supplies under the Defense Production Act

President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday authorizing agencies to use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and supplies following sustained efforts from U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

“I’m glad that President Biden is taking swift and necessary measures to ensure that Montana and states across the country are well-equipped to weather this ongoing pandemic,” said Tester. “For months, I’ve been urging the Administration to better utilize the tools at-hand to protect frontline workers, save lives, and bring all Americans through this crisis. Making better use of the DPA is an effective way to do just that, and I’ll be continuing to hold this Administration accountable this effort.”

On Thursday, President Biden signed an Executive Order on a Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain directing some federal agencies to “secure supplies necessary for responding to the pandemic, so that those supplies are available, and remain available, to the Federal Government and State, local, Tribal, and territorial authorities, as well as to America’s health care workers, health systems, and patients.”

Last Congress, Tester led multiple efforts to streamline the federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. He cosponsored the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act to provide a much-needed federal framework for effective response to the coronavirus 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.

As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester also implored the previous Administration to fully invoke the DPA to address the nation’s staggering shortage of supplies and prioritize the Department of Veterans Affairs in any supply chain decisions to better protect veterans, health care professionals, and all Americans from the coronavirus.