Who makes the life or death supply decisions for your state?

I read a letter yesterday that made my face go numb. Congress doesn’t know where critical pandemic supplies are going, what the criteria are for sending them, what gets sent to which states and who makes the final life or death decision about the supplies.

Today, April 27th, the House Energy & Commerce Committee‘s Health, Oversight and Investigation subcommittee chairs expects a detailed accounting from HHS and FEMA of the critical supplies the federal government is obtaining and distributing.
These questions are from a letter sent by the House Energy & Commerce Health, Oversight and Investigation subcommittee on April 20th 2020 to Alex Azar of HHS and Peter Gaynor of FEMA.

These two questions made the tips of my ear go numb.

  • Who are the members of the Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force? 
  • Who makes the final decision on where and how many supplies to distribute to a particular area or state?

HHS and FEMA need to deliver the following information by Monday, April 27th.

No later than April 27, 2020 provide daily reports to the House Energy & Commerce Health, Oversight and Investigation subcommittee the following information:
The total number of the following supplies that the federal government has provided directly (including from the SNS) or directed distribution through other means (including through Project Airbridge) to each state, territory, and tribe to date, for each type of supply:
i. Ventilators
ii. N95 respirators
iii. Surgical masks
iv. Face shields
v. Gloves
vi. Gowns
vii. Federal medical station beds

(Full letter in PDF form here )

The whole letter is mind blowing. They might know and want all of it in writing so they can nail them for breaking laws and rules. Or they DON’T know because the White House makes stuff up on the fly. They putting Jared and unknown cronies in charge to compete with HHS and FEMA official groups. Whatever the reason, we can’t wait to know what’s happening with supplies and their allocation.

Trump rattles off big general numbers at his Press Rallies. This hides the detailed information that could prove that states he likes are taking priority over states with a greater need. The lack of details also hides what happened to supplies seized in one state. Which state was it sent to? Who decided? Why were supplies meant for the VA  send to “our” National Stockpile. 

The public needs to know this information so we can fix this right now.  We need to use media, political, legal, financial and emotional leverage to make changes.

We need to know what the guidelines are before we can say HHS and FEMA are ignoring them. If life and death decisions are being made based on childish vendettas, political calculations and/or profit motives I want that to stop right now. Congress investigates to get proof, which is important, but my cynical human side says, “So what? They proved it. Now what? How do we stop them and make changes before more people die?”

First make the usual steps: Call your congress people.
The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation is chaired by Diana DeGette (D) Colorado. @RepDianaDeGette 

 The House Subcommittee on Health, is chaired by Anna G. Eshoo (D) CA @RepAnnaEshoo.
Check to see if people from your state are on these committees.

Maybe a congressperson from your Red state is on the health committee. If you live in Atlanta you can tweet to Earl L. “Buddy” Carter from Georgia @RepBuddyCarter Tweet to him and ask if his committee is being ignored by HHS and FEMA. 

This strategy is important because of the need to push from multiple directions.

We need to let people in states that are being deprived of supplies know about it so their Republican leaders from that state can make calls to Trump (since he ignores Democrats).

Widen the outrage pool. Get this info to Republicans who watch Fox and Friends.

“My friend who owns a chicken salad sandwich restaurant was upset that her state didn’t get the supplies they needed because she has a Democrat governor. It’s unfair to punish all us good Republicans in our state just because we made the mistake of electing a Democrat governor!
When we don’t get supplies Trump’s hurting the wrong people!”

Without public guidelines the White House, HHS and FEMA can take actions that can be explained away later. (“It was a mistake… There were miscommunications…  What we meant to do was.. We never technically ignored  them.”

We need to see emails and all communications including phone and video calls so we can find out if people were following directives from Jared or a secret members of the Supply Chain Task Force.

We know people take actions based on what they assume Trump wants.  (“Florida is critical to the President’s 2020 re-election. Send them twice what they want.” ) Trump doesn’t have to order people to act on their own initiative, which allows Trump to deny he is responsible. But in the absence of public guidelines and transparency we won’t know what is going where and why.

We know how the Trump White House works. They will hide, stall and get Barr to weasel word the law to cover for Trump. Individuals will lawyer up and hide. But the people who can be pressured with this don’t have to be at the very top like Trump. Pressure needs to start three steps below him first. Those people have lots of communications that are incriminating. And they aren’t happy being patsies for mass death.

The good news about incriminating emails is that my new favorite group, American Oversight, is on the case!  @weareoversight.  They have filed multiple FOIA requests for emails related to coronavirus testing.

They are also looking into what Jared is doing! They have filed FOIA requests with the DoD and DHS seeking emails with or about private individuals employed by firms enlisted in the coronavirus response by Jared Kushner.

If we can prove people are making corrupt deals there can be changes right now. We know that Trump will throw everyone under the bus before he is touched. There should be consequences for them later but hopefully we can get some information out of them before their bus arrives.

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