WASHINGTON — Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, says the ongoing pandemic has alerted Americans to the weak link in its supply chain — China.

The United States particularly needs to address its dependence on China for personal protective equipment, prescription drugs and other medical supplies, Ernst said in a statement.

Past efforts to shift supply chains out of China and back to America have had limited success, but Ernst highlighted legislation that would waive tax penalties for manufacturing and medical supply companies that move to the U.S.

Ernst said China is stealing sensitive secrets and avoiding its responsibility for the spread of coronavirus.

“Why then, would we reward them by manufacturing medical supplies and defense materials in their country, only to boost their economy at our expense?” Ernst said.

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