During Committee Hearing, Rosen Questions Former National Strategic Stockpile Director on Providing Medical Supplies and Resources to Rural Areas

Watch Senator Rosen’s full remarks here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC), U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen asked Greg Burel, former Director of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), about the need to ensure that rural communities in Nevada and across the country have access to medical supplies and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“According to Johns Hopkins, the United States is now over 121,000 deaths from COVID-19. A recent data analysis shows that 70 to 99 percent of the deaths from the virus so far could have been prevented,” said Senator Rosen. “However, there is still time to make a difference, based on how we proceed. As Dr. Fauci has recently said, we are still in the first wave. With this in mind, we must continue to respond to this pandemic with urgency. Our response must be timely, targeted, and thoughtful because different parts of the country are experiencing the pandemic at different rates, and with varied timing.”

“We can and must protect both lives and livelihoods, and we have to do better than before. That requires a strong national strategy and process for delivering key supplies to all of our communities, and we should be constantly correcting our actions to be sure that we improve our response,” Senator Rosen continued. “Our rural areas have seen fewer cases of COVID-19 compared to urban areas, but they have felt a real impact of the pandemic. They have a huge scarcity of supplies, and access to care has been a challenge, especially to the more remote areas in my state of Nevada.”

“What specific recommendations do you have on how we might improve response to our rural areas – access to critical testing supplies and PPE — what changes do you recommend for the future?” Senator Rosen asked Dr. Burel.

BACKGROUND: In April, Senator Rosen co-sponsored the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, legislation that would lay out a framework for an effective COVID-19 response by federalizing the supply chain for critical supplies and equipment and requiring the use of all authorities necessary, including full use of the Defense Production Act, to mobilize a transparent, effective, and comprehensive federal response to the pandemic through an equitable process.

Rosen has also joined Senate colleagues in multiple letters to the Administration requesting information on how the Administration is distributing critical medical supplies to jurisdictions in need, urging the Administration to mobilize and coordinate the distribution of vital medical supplies to make sure scarce equipment is delivered in a timely manner to regions that are hit hardest by COVID-19, and demanding answers about supplies and equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) critical to addressing the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.