[COVID-19\Defense Production Act]
“The federal government must act decisively now and use its sweeping authority to get as many needed supplies produced as soon as possible.”
Numerous state attorneys general–including NY Attorney General Letitia James–are asking Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act.
New York Attorney General Letitia James, as part of a coalition of 16 attorneys general from around the nation, today urged President Donald Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to respond to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).
In a letter to President Trump, the coalition of attorneys general urge the president to invoke the full powers of the Defense Production Act, so that factories from around the country can immediately prioritize the production of masks, respirators, and other critical items needed by health care workers, first responders, and law enforcement.
“We are in a war with the coronavirus and if we don’t act now, the consequences could be catastrophic,” said Attorney General James. “We believe that every person, every company, and every industry wants to step up and do their part to help, so by invoking the full powers of the Defense Production Act President Trump can unite the nation in the goal of getting us through this pandemic. With a definitive act from the commander-in-chief, companies nationwide can immediately begin manufacturing the masks, respirators, testing supplies, and other essential supplies Americans need to get through this crisis.”
In their letter, the attorneys general urge President Trump to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to dramatically increase: (1) health care capacity; (2) the supply of personal protective equipment — commonly referred to as PPE — for health care providers, law enforcement, and other first responders; and (3) COVID-19 testing capacity. Hospitals and health care facilities throughout the United States need more ventilators and Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds. In New York alone, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has stated the state will need 30,000 ventilators in the coming weeks to deal with the pandemic.
Additionally, those on the front lines of the response to the coronavirus need access to personal protective equipment, including N95 respirator masks, surgical masks, face shields, eye protection, gloves, gowns, sanitizers, cleaning supplies, and thermometers. There is a nationwide need to increase the supply of the reagents and swabs used for COVID-19 testing, so that testing can be expanded substantially. This increase in testing would provide public health care officials with information so that better-informed medical decisions could be made, so that decisions could be more effectively tailored to local conditions, and so that the coronavirus could be better understood and defeated sooner.
“We are on the brink of catastrophic consequences resulting from the continued shortage of critical supplies,” the attorneys general state in their letter. “The federal government must act decisively now and use its sweeping authority to get as many needed supplies produced as soon as possible for distribution as quickly as possible.”
Joining Attorney General James in sending today’s letter to the president are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.