US needs a 'more flexible' supply chain, senator says

The U.S. needs a "more flexible" medical supply chain to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future ones, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told The Hill Sept. 17. 

Mr. Murphy said the U.S. should be wary of too much reliance on foreign partners for medical supplies and that the country's supply chain needs to balance reliance on trade partners and domestic reserves. 

"We have seen how exposed we are when 100 percent of some absolutely necessary medical gear — whether it be the [personal protective equipment] that we didn’t have enough of early in the crisis or the drugs and the vaccine that we are going to need in the future — are all sourced outside of the United States," Mr. Murphy said, according to The Hill. 

He said the U.S. should federalize the supply chain and suggested Congress reach out to private manufacturers and pay them to produce critical supplies, such as PPE, under a strict timeline. 

"This is what we did in wartime. We are not doing it now even though this virus is killing more people than many of the kinetic wars we’ve been engaged in," he said.

He also said the U.S needs to do a "much better job" at stockpiling. 

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