Trump invokes DPA to ensure sufficient supply of ventilators amid COVID-19
US President Donald Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act on Thursday to ensure private companies are able to build as many ventilators as the country needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Today, I have issued an order under the Defense Production Act to more fully ensure that domestic manufacturers can produce ventilators needed to save American lives," Trump said in a statement.
"My order to the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Homeland Security will 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," he added.
The order, Trump said, will remove "obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators."
The directive came following a presidential memorandum Trump had signed last week directing Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar "to use any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators."
At the White House Coronavirus Task Force news briefing on Tuesday, Trump said the administration has nearly 10,000 ventilators on reserve, and that the equipment will be shipped in the coming weeks to locations facing the direst situation of the coronavirus' spread -- the so-called hot spots.
Passed by Congress in 1950 as a response to the Korean War, the DPA authorizes the president to direct companies to increase the production of national defense-related items. It also entitles the president to control the distribution of supplies deemed critical.
Meanwhile, Trump confirmed at Wednesday's briefing that the national strategic stockpile of personal protective equipment, items such as respirators, gloves, gowns and goggles, is nearly depleted. He said large portions of those supplies are being sent directly from manufacturers to hospitals.