President Donald Trump’s administration is considering invoking emergency powers through a law called the Defense Production Act, Reuters reports citing two U.S. officials who requested anonymity, in order to rapidly expand domestic manufacturing of protective masks and clothing to combat the coronavirus in the United States.
The use of the law, passed by Congress in 1950… grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons. The biggest producers of face masks in the United States include 3M Corp, Honeywell International Inc and Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar… said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday that China controls “a lot of the raw materials as well as the manufacturing capacity” related to face masks. “Very little of this stuff is apparently made in the (United) States, so if we’re down to domestic capability to produce, it could get tough,” the DHS official told Reuters.
A White House official confirmed that the administration was exploring the use of the law to spur manufacturing of protective gear… “Let’s say ‘Company A’ makes a multitude of respiratory masks but they spend 80% of their assembly lines on masks that painters wear and only 20% on the N95,” the White House official said. “We will have the ability to tell corporations, ‘No, you change your production line so it is now 80% of the N95 masks and 20% of the other.’”
Trump invoked the law in 2017 to address technological shortfalls in a vaccine production capability and other items such as microelectronics.
MacDailyNews Take: Currently, according to the latest figures from Caixin, there are 78.962 confirmed cases in China, 36,117 recovered, 2,308 suspected cases, and 2,791 deaths. Confirmed cases outside of China total 4,906, with 77 deaths in 52 countries.