In Homeland Security Hearing, Underwood Continues Fight to Deliver PPE for Illinois Health Care Providers and Frontline Workers

July 15, 2020
Press Release
Underwood: “This is a colossal failure of leadership with truly life and death consequences”

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Vice Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, continued her fight to deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) to Illinois health care providers and frontline working during the coronavirus pandemic. In a Homeland Security Committee hearing examining the federal response to the pandemic, Underwood questioned Craig Fugate, former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other witnesses on the Administration’s failure to meet critical needs for PPE across the country. In her questioning, Underwood highlighted how the lack of PPE nationwide has left Americans vulnerable to fraud and scams, as well as placing the health of frontline workers and vulnerable communities at risk.

“As a public health nurse, I have been disappointed and, frankly, horrified by this administration’s failure to equip our health care professionals and others on the front lines of this pandemic with the supplies they need to stay safe while doing their jobs,” said Underwood. “Months later, we find ourselves still unable to obtain and distribute essential supplies to meet our basic needs. This is a colossal failure of leadership with truly life and death consequences.”

Full video of Underwood’s remarks can be found here.

In March, Underwood led members of the Illinois delegation in a letter to President Trump, urging the Administration to immediately implement a federally coordinated effort to meet Illinois’ need for PPE. Members urged the Administration to immediately order the coordinated, full-scale deployment of every public and private resource our nation has to ensure that doctors, nurses, EMS workers, and other heroes have the protective equipment they need.

Additionally, Underwood has strongly supported three enacted relief packages in response to the coronavirus pandemic, which include provisions to address the need for PPE in Illinois. The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided $14.6 million in federal resources to the Illinois Department of Public Health for the procurement of PPE and other medical necessities. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided an additional projected amount of $16 million to the Illinois Department of Public Health, along with $16 billion to replenish the federal Strategic National Stockpile with PPE, ventilators, and other critical components of the COVID-19 response. Additionally, Underwood supported the passage of the Heroes Act (H.R. 6800) in the House of Representatives, which would provide $500 billion in relief funds to state governments, including almost $18 billion for the state of Illinois.