April 2, 2020/Press

Thom Tillis: Where is the PPE?

North Carolina is still lacking the necessary medical equipment it needs for front-line workers fighting the coronavirus, but rather than advocate for North Carolina workers, Senator Tillis continues to downplay the shortage and cover for the administration’s blunders.

On a conference call with constituents yesterday, Senator Tillis said that “the PPE equipment from the federal stockpile is being shipped” and pointed to two shipments North Carolina received. Tillis also said that the federal government is doing “everything we can” to secure PPE and pointed to the “president’s executive order which has directed several companies to stop manufacturing things that were not critical and start manufacturing things that are, like ventilators and masks.”

What Senator Tillis left out, however, is that even with those two shipments, North Carolina has “just over 17% of what it has requested” — in one specific example, North Carolina “requested 500,000 medical coveralls and received 306, state records show.” On top of that, the administration dragged its feet on using the Defense Production Act to direct companies to make PPE, despite “routinely” using the law for other equipment throughout the president’s first term.

This isn’t the first time Tillis downplayed this issue or covered for the administration. Earlier this week, he defended the federal government, saying it’s concern is “if we send resources and bypass all other agencies, we may miss some areas that are in greatest need and oversupply areas that are not as at risk right now.”

Meanwhile, North Carolina medical workers are reporting shortages of PPE, forcing one worker to leave on masks for their entire 10-hour shift and hospitals across the state to turn to the public for supplies, while the North Carolina Nurses Association reports that “the most anxiety provoking issue has been the lack of PPE.

“North Carolina medical workers are going to war without ammo, but rather than press for more resources for them, Senator Tillis is downplaying the issue and trying to cover for the administration’s disastrous response,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis, where is the PPE?”