Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown on Thursday announced a plan to ramp up domestic production of medical supplies, including masks, gloves, swabs, ventilators and surgical gear to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
He believes schools will need it when classes resume in August. He said doctors in the Cincinnati area tell him they need it, too.
“We still have shortages of protective equipment,” he said. “Nurses still use masks more days in a row than they should, than they’re told to, than they’d like to.”
Brown’s bill would require such supplies be made in the United States to ensure the country has enough in case of another large-scale health emergency.
“It will make funding mandatory so Congress can’t play games in critical times,” he added.
Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said federal money is key to keeping businesses and families afloat as the pandemic continues. Most of the government money the county has received has gone to help small businesses pay rent and employees, help families remain in their homes and rehouse people experiencing homelessness in non-congregate settings.
Brown said that he wants to add $100 billion to the rental assistance program nationwide to help families remain in their homes when pandemic-related eviction protections expire.
“If you're at war or you’re in a huge public health crisis, you spend what you’ve got to spend to keep us safe,” he said.
The full text of Brown's bill will soon be available here.