In the News
By Charles T. Clark
Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, and three other members of San Diego’s Congressional Delegation sent a letter to FEMA asking it to explain how it is confiscating personal protective gear.
The letter, led by Levin and co-signed by 55 other House Democrats, seeking “transparency” from FEMA comes on the heels of news reports that large orders of personal protective equipment —including gloves and protective masks — were “swept up” by FEMA after states and hospital systems had ordered them and before they could be delivered.
News reports have highlighted cases of this happening in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Colorado, Florida, Washington, Illinois, Oregon, Alaska, and Texas, among others, with much of the blame being pointed at a new effort by the Trump administration to create a “hybrid system of distribution.”
That hybrid system of distribution involves the federal government directing some of the flow of medical supplies to states and local healthcare providers. It has reportedly caused confusion for many local governments and healthcare providers, who are receiving no guidance from the government about how or if they will get access to the supplies they ordered, Levin said in a statement.
Reps. Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, all San Diego Democrats, also signed onto the letter.
“These reports are concerning given the opaque decision-making process associated with the seizures,” said Levin and his colleagues in the letter addressed to the director of FEMA.
“It is critical that you provide additional information about your relevant processes so that health care providers, officials at all levels of government, and the public can make informed decisions to keep Americans safe and healthy.”
The letter focuses on seven questions related to FEMA’s practices, including why the agency is not redistributing supplies through the Strategic National Stockpile and what processes the agency is using todetermine the destination of the redirected or seized medical supplies.