WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today spoke with the media about the importance of securing a reliable domestic supply chain of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) following a tour of the Parkdale Mills manufacturing facility in Gaffney. Parkdale Mills is the largest cotton yarn spinner in the United States and has helped lead a coalition of textile and apparel companies to produce millions of face masks for frontline healthcare workers.
Graham has lead the effort to ensure the United States is no longer reliant on China for critical PPE. In early May 2020, Senator Graham introduced the COVID-19 Accountability Act, which called for a domestic purchasing requirement of PPE for the Strategic National Stockpile. In July 2020, Senator Graham introduced the U.S. MADE Act which again called for strict purchasing requirements of PPE and a manufacturing production tax credit to further spur domestic manufacturing and job creation.
The provisions outlined in the U.S. MADE Act will be included in the upcoming CARES II package.
- GRAHAM: “What have we learned from the coronavirus? It's been a wakeup call for America. 90% of the personal protective equipment that our doctors and nurses and our healthcare workers use to keep us safe is made in China. And we’ve become captive to China – the entire world has. So I have legislation that I've been working on with the South Carolina textile industry, really the national textile industry, to bring back the medical supply chain into the United States. The road to bringing back medical supplies to the United States, when it comes to PPE, runs through the state of South Carolina.”
- GRAHAM: “I'm creating a $7.5 billion tax credit for companies that will go back into the PPE business to make gowns, masks, gloves, bedding, all the swabs, everything associated with caring for people under the pandemic. This tax credit will help revitalize an industry and bring back into the United States that PPE supply chain so that we’ll no longer beholden to China. But equally important, we're going to treat PPE manufacturing the same as making American uniforms for the military. Under the Berry Amendment of the defense bill, there's a requirement that American military uniforms be made in America. Many of our textile plants in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia get a good piece of their business by making American uniforms. My legislation would put PPE manufacturing under the Berry Amendment so our strategic stockpile would have to be made up of American-made PPE. The goal is to have 100% American-made in the strategic stockpile of PPE in the next five years. We believe that can be done through the tax credit and requiring PPE to be placed under the Berry Amendment.”
- GRAHAM: “What does this mean to the South Carolina textile manufacturing? It means new jobs, it means a new market. What does it mean to the public? No longer being dependent upon China. What does it mean to our hospitals, our doctors and nurses? That you'll have a supply chain in U.S. hands where we don't have to beg China or other places in the world for the equipment we need to make sure we can safely fight this virus.”
- GRAHAM: “I made a promise to myself and the state that I want to end our dependency on China for PPE. This bill that's going to be introduced this afternoon in the United States Senate is fulfilling that promise. I could not have done it without the support of the textile industry at large. They have weighed in…I am confident [this bill] is going to become law.”
Watch full remarks: