One thing the COVID-19 pandemic has made starkly evident is that it’s urgent for the United States to become better able to serve its own needs in the areas of pharmaceuticals, pandemic readiness, and energy, according to Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-Tenn.).
Continuing to rely on China, a geopolitical rival with close ties to many U.S. enemies, isn’t an option, Harshbarger told the “Capitol Report” program on NTD, sister media outlet of The Epoch Times, on March 17.
“It uncovered the need to be self-reliant with regard to things like personal protective equipment,” she said. “China is an adversarial nation, and we’re relying on them for 90 percent of our medications or active pharmaceutical ingredients and our finished products.
“We need to make those things in America or use our allies.”
In her view, the current reliance on China fails to anticipate possible turns for the worst in U.S.–China relations, as well as other potential developments affecting the United States and the world.
“If the pandemic rises, or another one [comes along], are we going to be self-sufficient? Do we have what we need to fight that? I’m ringing that bell, and I’m doing all I can to make the administration aware of these particular issues,” she said.
Harshbarger said she had just listened to a doctors’ caucus meeting at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The congresswoman and some of her colleagues had a number of questions on their minds about preparedness, she said.
“Why are you not tracking this better? Why are you not letting these repurposed drugs to be used in case of a pandemic? There are so many issues there, but in case that happens, we need to be stocked up. We need to have what we need to fight that pandemic,” Harshbarger said.
Elaborating on the issue of U.S. dependence on foreign powers, including hostile ones, Harshbarger asked why the United States would go to Russia, Iran, or Venezuela to buy oil. In her view, the Biden administration wasn’t anti-energy so much as anti-American energy. The administration has deliberately made things harder for domestic oil producers by putting red tape in their way and by not approving new leases. Achieving self-sufficiency will require a pivot in favor of stateside production and supply.
“Continue to finish the Keystone XL pipeline, go ahead and take restrictions off American energy companies, and let us do what we need to do to be self-sufficient,” she said.