President Trump on Thursday announced that he had used the Defense Production Act to order US companies to manufacture and deliver more urgently needed ventilators to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Moments ago I directed Secretary [Alex] Azar and acting Secretary [Chad] Wolf to use any authority under the Defense Production Act to ensure that domestic manufacturers have the supplies they need to produce ventilators for patients with severe cases of COVD-19,” Trump said from the White House during the daily briefing of the Coronavirus Task Force, referring to the heads of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security.
“We have over 100,000 being built right now or soon to be started. We’re anticipating more orders under the Defense Production Act in the very near future,” Trump continued, referring moves that would increase the supply of masks and protective gear.
Trump said the order would help domestic manufacturers like General Electric, Hill-Rom, Medtronic, ResMed, Royal Philips and Vyaire Medical secure the supplies they need to build ventilators needed to defeat the virus.
The president said the order would save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators.
Trump even gave a shout-out to General Motors chief Mary Barra, whom he’d ripped on Twitter earlier in the week, saying she was doing a good job.
Trump had invoked the Korean War-era act on Friday to order GM to speed up manufacture of the ventilators.
Governors and health professionals have criticized the federal government’s efforts to supply them with the medical equipment they need.
The Defense Production Act gives the federal government sweeping powers to order private companies to turn assembly lines over to produce goods needed during a crisis.
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