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WATCH: FEMA head testifies on federal government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic

The U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing June 9 on the federal government’s procurement and distribution strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

Watch the hearing live in the video player above.

As the coronavirus outbreak spread across the U.S. earlier this year, supplies of critical equipment, much of which is now manufactured overseas, were insufficient. U.S. hospitals as well as many private companies and government agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs and states themselves struggled to acquire protective masks, gowns, face shields and other gear, often bidding against each other and driving up prices amid the shortage.

FEMA worked with businesses and other agencies to acquire tens of millions of N95 respirators, masks and other pieces of equipment from around the world and distribute them across the United States. FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor testified along with Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, vice director of logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Dr. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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