Gov. Jay Inslee issued a statement today in response to the news that the federal government will be invoking the Defense Production Act in order to increase available testing supplies for states.
"I am pleased to announce that following our state’s advocacy for a strong national testing system for COVID-19, the federal government has informed my staff they will be invoking the Defense Production Act to significantly increase domestic production of testing supplies and providing these materials to Washington and other states. The White House and senior officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have communicated to us that they will immediately begin shipping large quantities of sample collection supplies to states and will be making weekly distributions for at least the months of May and June, with a commitment to help manage the domestic supply chain to ensure states’ continued access to supplies for the remainder of the year. They also indicated the federal government will consider opportunities to support the supply chain for our laboratories as well as assist with personnel challenges.
"In my conversations with the Trump administration, I have repeatedly emphasized the need for the federal government to create new sources of domestic production through use of the Defense Production Act — not merely compete with states in the procurement of existing production. I am heartened by today’s commitment to do precisely that. We have been informed that Washington will receive more than 500,000 swabs each month as part of this new federal effort.
"This federal support is an important and welcome step toward a safe and responsible return to public life. However, additional forms of federal support for testing continue to be necessary, as I laid out in my letter to Vice President Pence last week. I continue to appreciate the open lines of communication with his office and others in the federal government, and I am hopeful we can keep working together in the coming days to ensure confidence in the laboratory supply chain and meet the full testing needs of vulnerable communities and workers across our state.
"I am grateful for the tireless efforts of Senator Patty Murray and others in Washington’s congressional delegation who have fought for weeks to secure the increased federal testing support we need at this critical time."