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Committee Democrats At Work: Rep. Vargas Introduces Bill to Provide Additional Defense Production Act Funding During COVID-19 Crisis

Washington, DC, March 24, 2020

As the nation endures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Committee Democrats led by Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, have released the Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act (H.R. 6321), legislation to provide a comprehensive stimulus and public policy response to the coronavirus pandemic.

This legislation executes the comprehensive plan released by Chairwoman Waters and Committee Democrats last week.

H.R. 6321 includes provisions to protect consumers, renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness, including a bill from Representative Juan Vargas (D-CA) to provide an additional $3 billion of funding for the emergency production of medical supplies through the Defense Production Act.

Representative Vargas’ bill and numerous other provisions from H.R. 6321 are part of the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, House Democrats’ phase three coronavirus response bill that injects more than $2.5 trillion into the American economy. Chairwoman Waters is a cosponsor of the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act.

See below for what Congressman Vargas had to say about his critical legislation and click here for additional details on the entire legislative package released by Chairwoman Waters and Committee Democrats in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our country is suffering from an unprecedented pandemic that will only worsen in the coming weeks without a much stronger and coordinated response from the President,” said Congressman Vargas.

“Trump must provide our nation’s citizens and our heroic medical workers with the supplies they so desperately need. The Defense Production Act contains a set of sweeping and powerful authorities that the President can use in times of national emergency, to expedite the production, acquisition, and distribution of goods and materials needed to address this Coronavirus outbreak.

“Members of Congress have been calling on the President to invoke these authorities, and I am introducing legislation to authorize up to $3 billion that the President can and should use under the Defense Production Act, to spur greater emergency production of medical supplies such as medical ventilators, personal protection equipment, and diagnostic testing supplies.

“Without a higher level of production of these materials, medical workers will face risks that they should not have to face. Without enough equipment, doctors will be forced to make decisions about who they can and cannot treat. In this country of great means, we must do whatever is necessary to treat and save, as many lives as we can.

“It is long overdue for Trump to step up and utilize the full extent of his authority by invoking the Defense Production Act and ensuring every possible resource is dedicated to combating the impact of COVID-19."

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