Question: Is this exercise of the Defense Production Act a consequence of Donald Trump’s desire to get back to normal more quickly? Or is it a relatively cost-free tactic to show leadership even when it might not be entirely necessary? FEMA administrator Peter Gaynor told CNN’s John Berman that Donald Trump would make the first formal exercise of his DPA authority today in ordering more production of COVID-19 test kits, as well as using its “language” in contracts for other equipment:
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) March 24, 2020
FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said the Trump administration on Tuesday would formally implement the Defense Production Act to secure medical equipment sorely needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“So, just a little while ago my team came in, and we’re actually going to use the DPA for first time today,” Gaynor told CNN in an interview.
Gaynor said triggering the act would help access “about 60,000 test kits,” and added that the administration would insert “DPA language” into the mass contracts for the federal government’s order of 500 million personal protective masks.
President Donald Trump last week invoked the DPA as the administration broadened its response to the public health crisis, but he has resisted actually activating the statute — insisting that governors bear more responsibility for obtaining potentially life-saving supplies and arguing that the private sector would pitch in to furnish equipment voluntarily.