The Trump administration plans to invoke a wartime production act on Tuesday to order the mass production of COVID-19 test kits and other critical supplies.
As the state leaders’ requests for assistance in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic grew, the administration decided to use a wartime production act for the first time to mandate the production of 60,000 coronavirus test kits as well as a mass contract for 500 million masks, the New York Times reported.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Peter Gaynor said in a CNN article that the law would be used to speed up the production of desperately needed resources.
“So we’re going to use it, we’re going to use it when we need it and we’re going to use it today,” he said of the law. “We want to be thoughtful and meaningful on how we do it again for the best result.”
The wartime production act was a an obscure wartime act amended in the 1950s called the “Defense Production Act of 1950” which was passed in response to the Korean War and allowed the government more control during emergencies and domestic threats to direct industrial production.
In a CNN article, the FEMA described the law as “the primary source of presidential authorities to expedite and expand the supply of resources from the U.S. industrial base to support military, energy, space and homeland security programs.”
Despite signing an executive order last week invoking the act, President Trump did not immediately use it even as the supplies started to decrease and instead relied on companies to volunteer to provide the critical materials such as the six million masks donated to FEMA in the recent days.
Despite resisting the pressure to invoke the act as New York Times reported on Friday, Trump agreed to the requests of US governors to use it as health professionals and emergency medical workers faced shortages in masks, ventilators and gloves.