Houghtaling & Downey Call for Full Use of Defense Protection Act

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey today called on the Trump administration to continue invoking the Defense Production Act in order to ensure that the United States is able to fully meet the national need for medical ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), including medical masks, gowns, shields, and gloves.

“Our first responders, doctors, and nurses have made it clear how much these devices are needed," said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). "America’s manufacturing sector has the technology, the experience, and the resources to fully mobilize against this pandemic. We owe it to our medical professionals and every person suffering from COVID-19 to make sure that these lifesaving products can make it to the front lines."

"Staying at home and practicing good social distancing are essential for staying safe from COVID-19 - but doctors and nurses don't have that option," said Downey (D-Freehold). "They rely on PPE equipment to stay safe and healthy, just as they rely on ventilators to keep patients in critical condition alive. These extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and invoking the DPA in its full capacity will save lives."

Houghtaling and Downey also reiterated the importance of maintaining social distancing, and called on the federal government to reinforce CDC guidelines regarding staying home and avoiding close physical contact with others.

“Social distancing is the biggest weapon we can wield against this pandemic,” said Houghtaling. “But if we go back to business-as-usual before this virus is dealt with, we’ll wind up right back where we started. We’re glad to see the federal government extending the nation’s social distancing guidelines through the end of April, and hope that the President will continue to follow the recommendations of medical professionals and experts as we continue through the next several weeks and months.”

“The biggest resource we don’t have now is time,” said Downey. “But by following social distancing guidelines for as long as we need to, we can flatten the COVID-19 infection curve and buy our first responders, our doctors and nurses, and our pharmaceutical innovators additional time to treat sick patients, prepare additional treatment spaces, and research a treatment or vaccine.”

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