President Trump said Tuesday there’s no need to put the Defense Production Act into play because manufacturers are gearing up to make medical supplies, and confirmed that he is sending 400 ventilators to New York City, which has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven’t had to use it because no one has said NO! Millions of masks coming as back up to States,” the president posted on Twitter.
Noting that the world market for masks and ventilators is “Crazy,” Trump said the ventilators are coming to the Big Apple, which has more than 13,000 cases.
“We are helping the states to get equipment, but it is not easy. Just got 400 Ventilators for
@NYCMayor Bill de Blasio. Work beginning on 4 hospitals in New York! Millions of different type items coming!” Trump said in a second message.
FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor said the administration would put the Defense Production Act into effect on Tuesday to help access about 60,000 coronavirus test kits.
He said FEMA would also put “DPA language” into contracts for the government’s order of 500 masks.
“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.
Trump’s tweets reiterate comments the president made during a White House coronavirus briefing on Monday when he said the Federal Emergency Management Agency had gotten donations of about 6.5 million masks.
“We’re having millions and millions of masks made as we speak, and other personal protective equipment, which we will be distributing to medical hotspots. We’re focused on some of the hotspots across the nation,” Trump said at the briefing. “We’re seeing an outpouring of creativity and innovative ideas widely shared between the federal health leaders, governors and mayors, the scientific community, and members of the private sector. Really working together.”
News of the ventilators came after de Blasio on Monday pleaded with the Trump administration to deliver medical equipment to save lives. “If we don’t get ventilators this week, we’re going to start losing lives we could have saved,” de Blasio said.
Trump on Sunday said he had given the “go ahead” to automakers to begin manufacturing medical equipment after hospitals and health officials warned that their supplies were running dangerously low as the number of coronavirus cases continues to expand across the nation.
Trump invoked the Defense Production Act last week but has come under criticism for not putting it into action. He defended his decision over the weekend, saying companies were complying with requests as he raised concerns about nationalizing private businesses.
“We’re a country not based on nationalizing our business,” Trump said at the same event. “Call a person over in Venezuela; ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out. Not too well. The concept of nationalizing our business is not a good concept.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has been urging Trump to use the act, dismissed that reasoning in times of crisis.
“Let the federal government put in place the federal Defense Production Act. It does not nationalize any industry. All it does is say to a factory, ‘You must produce this quantity,’” Cuomo said. “Yes, it is an assertion of government power on private-sector companies. Yes — but so what? This is an emergency.”
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