House Republican: Coronavirus shows we need to be more 'domestically independent' on pharmaceuticals

Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannHouse Democrats include immigration priorities as they forward DHS funding bill The Memo: Biden feels the heat from all sides on immigration Biden official defends Trump-era immigration policy MORE (R-Tenn.) said the coronavirus outbreak illustrated the need for increased domestic pharmaceutical production in a Hill.TV interview Thursday.

Asked by host Saagar Enjeti about bills that would increase domestic pharmaceutical production, Fleischmann responded, “This exposes the Achilles heel that we’ve had in America for too long. We drove a lot of industries out of this country, largely because of labor and other production costs. It is going to take a while to retool this country.”

“It is going to take a while to retool this country… some of the economic harm that we’re going to suffer is because some of these products are only manufactured now in China or other countries and if that supply line has been cut off as it is, there is going to be some type of an economic disruption,” Fleischmann added.

Fleischmann also addressed Congress’s coronavirus relief funds, saying “We have already approved an 8.3 billion coronavirus package, that was very important, we got that passed rapidly, adding “my concern is they are telling us later today there may be a vote” on another measure.

“Obviously we are in a crisis mode and when you’re in a crisis mode especially when you’re a legislator, you have to make absolutely certain you get it right … we’ve got to make sure we know what’s in it and that the American people know what’s in it,” he said.

Going forward, the congressman said, “I would like to see more dollars addressed to the health care crisis. We know that there was an original problem in screening… the screening process originally was deficient, and that’s why so many people who have now tested positive were not caught.”