The Defense Production Act, a wartime authority was invoked by President Trump so he will be able to produce critical equipment in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
This act was established during the Korean War in 1950 after the war powers legislation that was present during the World War II to be able to direct industries to produce weapons, vehicles and other tools needed for war.
For example, the automakers from Detroit at that time was directed to shift its production.
According to Wikipedia, The Defense Production Act is a United States federal law enacted on September 8, 1950, in response to the start of the Korean War.
It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. Its implementing regulations, the Defense Priorities and Allocation System (DPAS), are located at 15 CFR §§700 to 700.93. Since 1950, the Act has been reauthorized over 50 times.[ It has been periodically amended and remains in force.
The president said, “It can do a lot of good things if we need it, We’ll have it all completed, signing it in just a little while.” The main sections of the Defense Production Act would be:
- Companies should accept and give priorities to contracts from the government. Furthermore, “materials, services, and facilities to promote the national defense or to maximize domestic energy supplies.” This will be used for all medical supplies.
- This act also could provide financial measures like loans, loan guarantees, purchases, and purchase commitments, to speed up the production of materials “needed to support national defense and homeland security procurement requirements.”
- This serves as a voluntary guarantee “an association of private interests, approved by the Government to plan and coordinate actions in support of the national defense.”
- This act would give the government authority to get information from businesses, authorizes establishment of the National Defense Executive Reserve, and a Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States – which works on the effects on national security of certain mergers, acquisitions, and furthermore takeovers related to foreign investment in the country.
According to Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant and military expert The Defense Production Act permits the president to push national security items to the front of the line, rather than following items that were previously ordered.
It exists to speed up urgently needed items.”
Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat on the Armed Services Committee agrees on this move as it is crucially needed for the fast production of ventilators and other equipment needed for treating the patients who have the coronavirus disease.
He said, “Instead of preparing and mobilizing for this coronavirus pandemic, President Trump tried to downplay it. As a result, America is not as ready as we should be.
In France, factories that once manufactured fancy perfumes are starting to churn out needed hand sanitizer instead.
You can’t do these things overnight. It takes planning and coordination. President Trump is finally taking needed steps, but we’ve got to do more.”