WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Thursday applauded President Joe Biden’s Executive Order invoking the Defense Production Act to direct federal agencies and private industry to speed production and distribution of a vaccine and other medical supplies to combat COVID-19:

“We are in the middle of a national emergency and President Biden understands that invoking the Defense Production Act and strengthening the medical supply chain is critical to fight COVID-19. It was a mystery to me that the Trump administration refused to do this, despite the repeated pleas from my colleagues and I in Congress and health care workers across the country,” said Murphy. “Manufacturers across Connecticut have been ready for a long time to start transforming their production lines into making medical supplies, and now finally the federal government will use its authorities to promote domestic production and assure frontline workers have the equipment they need. This is a strong step towards finally bringing this pandemic to an end.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Murphy has been outspoken in calling on the administration to federalize the national supply chain. Most recently this month, Murphy and U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin led their colleagues in supporting his incoming administration’s plan to quickly utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to rapidly increase the production and stockpiling of medical, testing and protective equipment supplies. After the GSA finally began the transition after Biden’s win, Murphy published an op-ed in NBC News shedding light on the supply chain issues and urging the Trump administration to share vaccine rollout plans with the incoming administration as soon as possible.

Last year, Murphy, Baldwin and Schumer announced the Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act (S. 3627/ H.R.6711), which would require the president to utilize all available authorities under the Defense Production Act to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process. 46 Senate Democrats support their legislation as well as AFL-CIO, SEIU, the National Nurses United, AFSCME, Get Us PPE, and US PIRG, and the legislation was included in the House-passed COVID-19 relief package, the HEROES Act.