WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - United States Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, took a tour of Nephron Pharmaceuticals in West Columbia Friday morning.
The company has ramped up production in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the tour, Graham talked about the need to bring the medical supply chain to the United States.
“I appreciate bringing the product into South Carolina from China but I want those days to end,” he said.
According to Graham, he plans to file legislation in the Senate in the coming days that would spur manufacturing of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the national medical stockpile.
Graham said his legislation would include PPE under a current law that requires American military uniforms be made in the U.S. His proposed change would include PPE for front-line health care workers.
“I’m going to expand the Berry Amendment to include personal protective equipment for front-line health care workers -- so going forward they’ll be required to buy American when it comes to PPE,” he explained.
Graham said he hopes to propose an expansion of tax credits to companies to produce PPE. He hopes all of this will help build up the supply in the country.
Nephron Pharmaceuticals CEO and owner Lou Kennedy said an increase in the domestic supply would be a big help to companies like hers to protect their employees.
“I look forward to the day where I can get my PPE from Pendleton, South Carolina and I’m not looking for some middleman who ships it to me from China,” she said.
Graham said he expects to get bipartisan support in the Senate for his legislation. He also said this could create millions of jobs across the country.
“We should have a national, full court press, all hands on deck approach to bringing back the medical supply chain from China to the United States," he said. “So we can control it and we’re not dependent on China.”