Slotkin, Ryan call on Biden to offer free, U.S.-made masks to all Americans as COVID surges

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US President Joe Biden is greeted by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin as he arrives in Michigan on Oct 5, 2021. PHOTO: NYTIMES

In a letter to President Biden on Monday, U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08) and Tim Ryan (OH-13) called for the administration to ramp up its action against the latest COVID-19 wave by sending free, high-quality, American-made face masks to all Americans who request them.

“Right now, as COVID cases surge and folks struggle to protect themselves, we have American-made masks sitting in warehouses with nowhere to go,” said Slotkin. “It’s crazy – and it’s why Rep. Ryan and I are calling for high quality, U.S.-made masks to be sent to every American who wants one.”

The Representatives noted in the letter that the CDC estimates that as many as 60% of KN95 masks coming to the United States from China are counterfeit and fail to meet U.S. safety standards.

“We ask that the administration consider using resources already allocated by Congress for COVID-19-related expenses to purchase and distribute these American-made, quality certified masks, to every American household that requests them,” Slotkin and Ryan wrote in the letter. “It is time for the government to ensure all Americans have easy, regular access to high-quality, American-made masks.”

Slotkin has been a longtime advocate for manufacturing more PPE in the United States, and spearheaded the Strengthening Our Strategic National Stockpile Act, an overwhelmingly bipartisan bill to revamp the U.S.’s stockpile of critical PPE and make more of it here at home.

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