WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Wisconsin anticipates continued growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is urging President Donald Trump to take swift action and deliver the personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies the state of Wisconsin has repeatedly requested before it’s too late.
Wisconsin has received only a fraction of the supplies it has requested from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and some outstanding orders from Wisconsin entities have been redirected. On April 10, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported that an order of 1,000 N95 masks ordered by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department and the Green Bay Police Department were instead sent to an unspecified location. In her letter to President Trump, Senator Baldwin notes that Wisconsin still has not received a single ventilator, as well as the full amount of requested PPE for essential workers, and demands the Trump administration act now to get Wisconsin the supplies they desperately need.
Baldwin writes, “Throughout this entire crisis, HHS and FEMA have failed to provide a sufficient explanation or any transparency on how decisions are made with respect to disbursement, other than to offer that these vital and limited supplies, such as PPE and ventilators, are delivered to ‘hot spots.’ It is unclear how your ever-changing response team defines ‘hot spot’ and there appears to be no strategy for delivering PPE and ventilators to areas of future need.”
She continues, “Our response to this crisis could have been bolstered by early interventions and information. According to media reports, intelligence community analysts had warned that a novel coronavirus could be a cataclysmic event as early as November and reports about the virus began appearing in the President’s Daily Brief in early January. Yet it appears you did not take action to ramp up the production of any critical supplies in preparation.”
Senator Baldwin notes that President Trump did not fully utilize his authority under the Defense Production Act, before the country reached its current shortage, to increase production of PPE and medical supplies. Baldwin introduced legislation to trigger the full authority of the Defense Production Act without delay to massively scale up production of PPE and medical supplies.
Baldwin concludes, “It is past time that you take action to demonstrate leadership and support our states. I look forward to your response and more importantly, to the action you will take to address these concerns.”