From the office of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand:
Calls for Investigation Into FEMA and HHS Medical Supply Distribution Process as New York Has Struggled to Receive Critical Medical Supplies from the Trump Administration
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined her Senate colleagues in sending a letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Inspector General to investigate the management and distribution of medical supplies to states. Medical supplies, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, are critical to containing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the safety of healthcare workers, frontline workers, and patients during this pandemic. Earlier this month, Gillibrand sent a letter to President Trump demanding answers about reports that the administration had fulfilled 100% or more of requested medical supplies in certain states like Kentucky, Oklahoma and Florida, while New York – the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak – and other hard hit states had struggled to receive desperately needed supplies. The administration has failed to apportion medical supplies in a transparent and timely manner, emphasizing the need for an investigation into the legitimacy of distribution decisions.
“President Trump, FEMA, and HHS must answer questions about their process for distributing critical medical supplies to state and local governments,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The allocation of these life-saving supplies should be decided solely based on levels of risk and need, not on partisan politics or personal connections. New York has faced more cases of COVID-19 than any other state, and there must be an investigation into the Trump administration’s inconsistent and harmful allocation decisions so that resources can be provided efficiently to those who need it most.”
Amid the COVID-19 public health emergency, the stockpile has been depleted, causing a massive strain on the ability of state and local governments to access necessary medical supplies. As the Trump administration struggles to deliver urgently-needed medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators, Senator Gillibrand and her colleagues sent a letter requesting a formal investigation into the distribution of medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) and Project Airbridge. The senators raised concerns that decisions about distributing life-saving supplies have been based on the electoral concerns of President Trump and pointed to evidence that Jared Kushner’s involvement in Project Airbridge may have resulted in fast-tracked shipments at the requests of donors and other friends, rather than the most urgent public health needs.
Full text of the letter can be found here