Politics Trump invokes DPA to prevent export of medical goods
Trump's refusal to use wartime powers to direct scarce medical supplies has left states fighting it out
WASHINGTON - When President Donald Trump invoked emergency war powers last week to fight the coronavirus outbreak, many were hopeful that the federal government would take charge in addressing the nation's dire shortage of ventilators, protective masks and other critical gear for patients and medical staff. But Trump has not made actual use of the powers granted in the Korean War-era law known as the Defense Production Act, even though state governors, health experts and lawmakers of his own party have appealed to the administration to employ that authority to bulk up production of medical equipment and supplies, and just as critically, to ensure that the
President Trump on Friday said he had invoked the Defense Production Act, a federal emergency law, to prevent hoarding or export of critical medical gear needed to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
“The Secretary of Homeland Security will work with FEMA to prevent the export of N95 [respirators] and surgical masks, gloves, and other personal equipment,” Trump said at his daily coronavirus news conference. “We need these items immediately for domestic use.”
The Trump administration had previously refrained from imposing export restrictions on medical supplies, despite calls from some members of Congress. But around the world, at least 68 countries have imposed export restrictions since the beginning of the year, according to the Geneva-based Global Trade Alert.
This is what China did to beat coronavirus. Experts say America couldn't handle it
Beijing took radical and invasive coronavirus actions that many people outside China might find culturally, logistically and emotionally unpalatable. "It was not just families being isolated together in Wuhan, but individuals being isolated away from their friends and families," said Andy Mok, a fellow at the Center for China and Globalization, a public policy think tank based in Beijing."China's response to the outbreak was truly a nationwide response: systematic, comprehensive and coordinated," he said.
Earlier today, the World Trade Organizationshowing the United States is one of the top exporters of medical supplies, along with Germany and Switzerland.
Trump’s announcement came a day after the president invoked the DPA against manufacturer 3M and six major medical device makers, seeking to spur the production and distribution of ventilators and other medical gear. Though he did not detail which companies or industries were covered by the latest order, Trump said the White House has already used the act to seize and distribute medical gear held by private companies.
“Under that authority, this week at the Department of Health and Human Services working with the Department of Justice took custody of nearly 200,000 N95 respirators and 130,000 surgical masks, 600,000 gloves as well as bottles and disinfectant sprays that were being hoarded,” Trump said at the news conference. “All of this material is now being given to health care workers.”
Despite announcing he'd force GM to make ventilators, Trump hasn't ordered any
Nearly a week after Trump said he'd force GM to make ventilators, a FEMA official said agencies are still "reviewing these delegated authorities."As governors warn of severe shortages of ventilators, Trump has been hesitant to use his wartime powers to force companies to ramp up production under the Defense Production Act, arguing that such an order amounts to a takeover of private industry.
Trump’s decision to expand application of the DPA comes a week after he first invoked it to direct automaker General Motors to produce ventilators. The moves come after weeks of mounting pressure from Congressional Democrats and governors of states hard-hit by the coronavirus to use the federal emergency law.
'Got my blood boiling': Florida nursing homes ask governor for immunity from coronavirus lawsuits .
Florida is reporting more than 18,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state. The state's Agency for Health Care Administration said Saturday that the industry’s letter had been received and will be reviewed. "The state is evaluating all options to assist health care workers and facilities on the frontlines of the response to COVID-19, although there has been no final decision on this particular request," said communications director Katie Strickland.A recent USA TODAY analysis of federal inspection data found that a majority of U.S.