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Industry Coalition Urges Biden, Congress on PPE Policy Priorities

A broad coalition of industry organizations and labor unions urged President Biden to take action on PPE production.

In a letter to the 46th president and congressional leaders, the group representing manufacturers and workers who stepped up to make essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and other products throughout the Covid-19 pandemic outlined recommendations on specific policy initiatives to re-establish a permanent PPE industry in the United States.

The group—including the National Council of Textile Organizations, INDA: Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, National Cotton Council, Narrow Fabrics Institute, Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network, SEAMS: Association of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry, SPESA: Sewn Products Equipment & Suppliers of the Americas, South Carolina Textile Council, U.S. Industrial Fabrics Institute and United States Footwear Manufacturers Association—pointed the American textile industry’s “heroic efforts” throughout the pandemic, which it said “clearly demonstrate[s] that domestic industry has the technical capabilities and capacity to make the United States self-sufficient in terms of our national PPE needs.”

“However, the permanence of this [industry] is dependent on the development of government policies designed to help domestic manufacturers survive the current economic crisis and incentivize the long-term investment needed to bring PPE production back onshore,” it added. “If appropriate policies are not implemented, the valuable and substantial progress made over the past year to onshore a vibrant PPE industry will evaporate in the face of China’s global manufacturing dominance in the PPE sector.”

In the letter to Biden, the coalition said it was writing in support of his Covid-19 efforts and onshoring initiatives intended to establish and strengthen U.S. PPE supply chains. It called for incentivizing private-sector purchases of U.S.-made PPE and providing funding assistance for companies to reconstitute domestic PPE supply chains, in addition to creating strong domestic procurement rules for federal PPE purchases.

The coalition is requesting that President Biden and Congress adopt the policy recommendations outlined in the letter through legislation, executive order and other appropriate means. The coalition sent the letter to President Biden and a second letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) outlining these requests.