Jim Oberweis: Rep. Underwood contributed to policies that lead to PPE shortages in national stockpiles

May 1, 2020
For Immediate Release

Sugar Grove, IL – One of the biggest stories during the COVID-19 Pandemic has been the lack of personal protective equipment in the national stockpile – a shortage that is due, in large part, to the failures of Rep. Lauren Underwood.

Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Lauren Underwood worked as an Obama Administration appointee to the Department of Health and Human Services from November 2014 to January 2017. Underwood worked specifically on our Nation’s pandemic preparedness and response systems and ensuring our country had necessary stockpiles of PPE – a job she failed.

The H1N1 outbreak created massive equipment shortages as 75 percent of the $325 million stockpile inventory was used, but not replaced. Underwood simply did not focus on replacing the N95 masks, but rather on developing reusable masks, a decision that has placed the lives of millions of health care workers at risk.

“Rep. Underwood spent time working for the Department of Health and Human Service and took the lead in the misguided and dangerous decision to not replenish the stockpile of N95 masks,” Oberweis said. “She got that job as a political appointee, she had zero experience in pandemic response, and, instead of replenishing critical PPE stockpiles, she pursued some fairy tale concept of inventing a reusable mask.”

In a recent article in Stars and Stripes, Rep. Lauren Underwood is quoted as saying providing PPE for healthcare workers is “now on the top of our list of concerns. We cannot accept a situation that effectively makes our health professionals expendable. It is unacceptable.”

“So why was it OK to not replenish the stockpile of N95 masks when she worked in the Obama Administration, but now it is not?” Oberweis said. “She crafted the policies that she is now criticizing. That kind of brazen hypocrisy is not what the 14th District needs. Instead of being helpful in this crisis and putting partisan politics aside, Rep. Underwood has chosen the worst kind of partisan politics, which is not helping us get through this crisis. Her decisions hurt us then, they have hurt us now, and they will continue hurting us for months to come.”
To learn more about Jim Oberweis, log onto https://jim2020.com/.

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