Today Congresswomen Susan W. Brooks (R-IN05) and Kim Schrier, M.D. (D-WA08) introduced H.R. 6517, the Stockpiling for America’s Future Endeavors (SAFE) Act to improve the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).
Under current law, the SNS cannot accept donation of equipment or medical countermeasures without going through a complex transaction with the Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) and General Services Administration (GSA). In practice, very few of these donations are accepted because of this complexity.
The SAFE Act allows the SNS to accept gifts from companies and individuals. Periodically, the SNS is approached by companies with surplus product or private individuals who wish to make cash donations.
This language would allow the Secretary of HHS to authorize these donations directly and place them into the stockpile for disbursement.
“The Strategic National Stockpile is meant to be a resource during a crisis. The size of this pandemic has shown that the SNS is not adequately stocked with enough equipment to keep up with state and national needs to protect frontline workers and keep our communities safe,” said Schrier . “In this interconnected world, it is more likely than not that we will face a pandemic again. This commonsense legislation will eliminate red tape and allow for donations to the SNS in addition to what Congress allocates, so our country is better prepared to act when the next emergency happens.”
FEMA is currently accepting gifts on behalf of the SNS, but this arrangement will only last for the duration of the national emergency. Once the emergency ends, it reverts to the system where SNS cannot accept any gifts.