WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) today joined a group of Senate colleagues in introducing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA) that would require President Trump to unlock the full authority and power of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to scale up nationwide production of testing supplies, personal protective gear, and medical equipment needed to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The President of the United States has the responsibility to use all the available authorities under the DPA to mobilize and lead a swift federal response to a pandemic and national public health crisis,” said Sen. Menendez. “This amendment to the NDAA would step in where President Trump has failed ensuring sufficient equipment is being manufactured to keep our communities safe and halt the spread of COVID-19.”

“Because of the vacuum of leadership created by the Trump Administration, the U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, but over a quarter of the world’s COVID-19 related deaths, with cases rising precipitously in certain parts of the country and vulnerable communities still bearing the disproportionate impact of this pandemic,” said Sen. Booker. “It is past time to act to increase production nationally of the COVID-19 testing supplies that will help us to track and contain this virus, the personal protective equipment that our health care workers desperately need to do their jobs safely, and the medical equipment that patients need to fight this virus.”

The amendment, authored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), includes key elements of the House-passed HEROES Act to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process. The Republican majority in the Senate has failed to take action on the HEROES Act.

Joining Sens. Menendez and Booker in cosponsoring Sen. Baldwin’s amendment are Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

The NDAA is being considered on the Senate floor this week.

The full amendment is available here.