The latest move out of the White House to combat the coronavirus should probably give us pause. Well… actually a number of things they’re talking about are unsettling for various reasons, but the most recent one was the announcement that President Trump is invoking the 1950 Defense Production Act (DPA) to push manufacturers of certain critical medical devices and products that we anticipate needing if the number of seriously afflicted people starts to skyrocket. In this case, he’ll probably be targeting ventilators, among other things. (NBC News)
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is invoking the Defense Production Act to mobilize U.S. private production capacity to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump also said his administration is “suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April” to help those affected by the virus.
The Defense Production Act, enacted in 1950, allows the president to force American businesses to produce materials in the national defense, such as ventilators and medical supplies for health care workers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Trump this morning to use those authorities to address a shortage of medical supplies.
For those not familiar with this dusty old piece of legislation, the DPA was passed at the beginning of the Korean War and it empowers the President to force private industry to sign contracts and fulfill orders for products deemed critical to our national defense. When you’re gearing up for a war and don’t have enough ammunition, body armor or anything else related to the effort, it’s a handy tool to have.