Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) led a bipartisan request from the entire New Jersey congressional delegation today calling on U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to utilize the authority delegated to him by the President under the Defense Production Act. Immediate action from HHS would help ensure that sufficient equipment is being manufactured to keep our communities safe and halt the spread of COVID-19. New Jersey now has the second highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the United States, with more than 4,400 confirmed cases and 62 deaths across the state.
“In our home state of New Jersey, the need is particularly acute. New Jersey has the second highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the country, and our supply of respirators, eye protection, face masks, and other protective gear is rapidly decreasing,” the lawmakers wrote. “In some regions of New Jersey, healthcare providers estimate that their supplies will run out in a matter of days based on current usage levels – usage which is predicted to dramatically increase in the coming days and weeks. Deepening the need, New Jersey has only received a fraction of the supplies it has requested from the Strategic National Stockpile.”
The letter was signed by Representative Sherrill, Senator Menendez, Senator Cory Booker, and Representatives Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Jefferson Van Drew (NJ-02), Andy Kim (NJ-03), Christopher H. Smith (NJ-04), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Frank Pallone (NJ-06), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).