On Wednesday, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) appeared on Fox News to speak about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Host Steve Doocy first asked Sen. Cotton about the coronavirus relief legislation that lawmakers have been haggling over for the last several days. Cotton assured viewers that the bill isn’t the one Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proposed, and that there would be “some more money” for “people who are losing their job” and “medical equipment,” among other things.
Doocy also asked Cotton about a recent op-ed penned by the senator and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) for Fox News in which they argue that the United States must end its pharmaceutical dependence on China.
Yeah, things like antibiotics and ibuprofen and Advil are made in China for the most part. It’s time to bring that manufacturing capacity back to the United States, time to bring a lot more back to the United States from China. China unleashed this plague on the world, and there will be a reckoning when we’re on the back side of it.
In the op-ed, Cotton and Gallagher write that America’s dependence on China for pharmaceuticals poses a national security risk, and that the “low quality” of Chinese-made drugs has been dangerous in the past and could be dangerous in the future as well.
To put the Unites States’ dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals to an end, Cotton and Gallagher have introduced the “Protecting Our Pharmaceutical Supply Chain From China Act.”
Our bill would require federal entities like the Department of Defense, VA hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid to cut off purchases of drugs with Chinese ingredients no later than 2025. This requirement would phase in over a period of years to give drug companies time to adjust, but would put clear pressure on importers to stop doing business with the CCP. The bill also would require drug companies to label the origins of ingredients in their drugs, so U.S. consumers are better informed of where their medicine comes from and whether it’s likely to be safe.
The bill would also encourage “the medical industry to manufacture in our country again by offering full and immediate expensing of factories, warehouses and capital goods related to the manufacture of drugs and medical devices on American soil.”
Earlier in the segment, Doocy asked Cotton about the timeline for the reopening of the economy, citing President Trump’s recent remarks that he would like to see the economy reopen “in stages” starting around Easter.
Well, I’d love to see that as well, but I think we have to exercise caution, Steve. The one thing we don’t want to see is a relaxing of some of the restrictions on public activities and then a resurgence of the pandemic. Ultimately, this is going to be a multifaceted response. It’s gonna require more testing and more personal protective equipment for our doctors and our nurses, making sure that none of our hospitals, whether it’s in rural Arkansas or New York City, are overwhelmed, not just by coronavirus cases, but by other cases needing intensive care.
And then also taking assessment of conditions on a regional or even local basis. Remember, the president didn’t “shut down the country.” These are decisions that are being made by governors and by mayors at the local and the state level based on conditions in their states. And ultimately, I think whenever we get back on our feet, get back to work, it’s gonna happen on a rolling basis in places that haven’t had a large outbreak or have got an outbreak under control, so you won’t just see a single, nationwide set of conditions. I think you’ll see it down to the local and state level as the president and the federal government works with our governors and our mayors.