Trump administration unclear over emergency production measure to combat coronavirus

Cheryl Sanders
March 25, 2020

At a press conference Sunday, Trump shrugged off a reporter's question about more aggressively deploying the law to increase production of critical supplies, claiming, "We're a country not based on nationalizing our business".

Peter Gaynor, the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, said Tuesday on CNN that the administration had chose to use the Defense Production Act because "there are some test kits we need to get our hands on". The move would allow them to gain access to "about 60,000 test kits", and language from the act would be used in contracts for the federal government's order of 500 million protective masks, he added. New York, New York City, Washington state and Los Angeles and California - that is where we are focused.

There is a careful balance involved, Gaynor said, to make sure "we can get it out to the market and that the federal government not consume it all", but as for the federal law, "we're going to use it, we're going to use it when we need it, and we're going to use it today".

Gaynor's comments surprised senior White House officials.

WASHINGTON, March 25 ― The Trump administration sowed confusion yesterday over use of a 1950s-era emergency act to procure coronavirus test kits amid severe shortages of tests, masks, ventilators and other equipment for medical workers fighting the highly contagious disease. One said they did not know what Gaynor was referencing and was still trying to figure it out in the hours after he was on television.

"So we're going to use it, we're going to use it when we need it, and we're going to use it today", said added.

His announcement came soon after Mr. Trump tweeted that "the Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven't had to use it because no one has said NO!"

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), among others, has urged Trump in recent days to use his new powers to create more respirators, ventilators, masks, and other protective items amid the CCP virus pandemic.

The DPA gives the federal government the power to direct companies to prioritize production to meet United States national defense demands.

USA associations representing doctors, nurses, and hospitals recently sent a letter to the president Saturday that said that "America's hospitals, health systems, physicians and nurses urge you to immediately use the DPA". "I do not for the life of me understand the reluctance to use the federal Defense Production Act".

Other reports by iNewsToday