FEMA Chief: White House to Use Defense Production Act to Procure Test Kits

March 24, 2020 Updated: March 24, 2020
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President Donald Trump will use the Defense Production Act, which he initiated last week, to procure test kits, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

“So, just a little while ago my team came in, and we’re actually going to use the DPA for first time today,” FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor told CNN. The move would allow them to gain access to “about 60,000 test kits,” and language from the act would be used in contracts for the federal government’s order of 500 million protective masks, he added.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), among others, has urged Trump in recent days to use his new powers to create more respirators, ventilators, masks, and other protective items amid the CCP virus pandemic.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

Under the 1950 Korea War-era law, federal agencies can completely control the entire supply chain and force companies to manufacture needed items and take over the distribution and allocation of those supplies.

But Gaynor told CNN that the Trump administration “wanted to be thoughtful about not upsetting the balance,” while ensuring that “we can get it out to the market and the federal government not consume it all.”

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A patient assisted by medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, as he gets off an ambulance in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province, China, on Jan. 26, 2020. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

“My current focus has been and will continue be to make sure we get critical supplies to those places around the country that need it the most. New York, New York City, Washington state, and Los Angeles and California—that is where we are focused. And we continue to focus on that throughout the day today and until we solve that supply problem,” Gaynor said.

Gaynor’s remarks came as the number of global CCP virus cases reached near 400,000 on Tuesday while cases in the United States reached more than 45,000, according to Johns Hopkins Researchers. The pandemic has triggered state, federal, and local lockdowns, banning social gatherings and restricting travel to slow the spread of the virus.

Some companies, meanwhile, said they have already started making medical supplies amid shortages.

Bill Ford, the head of Ford Motor Company, said this week that his company is looking to make medical supplies including ventilators and respirators.

“We’re doing it on our own,” Ford told NBC News’ “Today.” “Obviously the White House has put a call out for companies to help, but frankly we were doing this, getting all this in motion before that.”