July 22, 2020

Senate Homeland Security Committee Passes Hassan-Backed, Bipartisan Measures to Strengthen COVID-19 Response Efforts and Government Efficiency

WASHINGTON – During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and colleagues advanced bipartisan bills to help address the COVID-19 pandemic and strengthen government efficiency.

 

To watch Senator Hassan’s remarks during the hearing, click here.

 

The Committee advanced a bill that Senator Hassan and colleagues worked on with Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) to assess the federal government’s current and future pandemic preparedness efforts and to examine the mission and purpose of the Strategic National Stockpile, which is maintained by the federal government to rapidly distribute personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies during public health emergencies. The bill also included an amendment that Senator Hassan supported to create a Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force to help gather data about and address COVID-19 inequities.

 

The Committee also passed a bill led by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) that Senator Hassan cosponsored to require increased transparency from the administration on the supply chain for personal protective equipment. The bill follows Senator Hassan’s call for the administration to share personal protective equipment procurement and distribution projections. At a previous Committee hearing, the Federal Emergency Management Agency agreed to Senator Hassan’s request to make public a document sharing some of these projections.

 

“The lack of sufficient personal protective equipment in our country has been completely unacceptable – we are six months into this pandemic and it is clear that we need to do more than what is called for in the bills we passed today. I will keep pushing the administration to fully exercise its authority to ramp up domestic production for these supplies,” said Senator Hassan.

 

During the Committee hearing, Senator Hassan also raised concerns over the actions of federal officials in Portland, Oregon. “The scenes out of Portland, Oregon are incredibly disturbing. Federal officers with dubious legal justifications, but clearly behaving in ways that challenge American norms when it comes to the use of federal police power, are detaining and, in some cases, seriously injuring protestors,” said Senator Hassan.

 

The Committee today also passed a number of bipartisan bills cosponsored by Senator Hassan, including:

 

  • The IT Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act, a bill led by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Senator Hassan to help modernize federal agencies’ information technology infrastructure in partnership with the private sector

 

  • The Safeguarding American Innovation Act, which would help stop foreign governments, particularly China, from stealing American taxpayer-funded research and intellectual property developed at U.S. colleges and universities 

 

  • The CFO Vision Act, which would provide critical updates to CFO responsibilities across the federal government, enabling agencies to be better stewards of taxpayer funds

 

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