Trump may use wartime laws to expand production of masks and protective clothing

 Trump may use wartime laws to expand production of masks and protective clothing


Two U.S. officials said the trump administration is considering exercising special powers under the defense production act to rapidly expand domestic production of respirators and protective clothing in response to the new coronavirus epidemic.

The bill was passed by the U.S. Congress at the beginning of the Korean War in 1950, giving the president the power to expand the production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Reuters pointed out that if trump exercises the power given by the bill, it will mark the escalation of trump government response to the epidemic.

The novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States seems to be inevitable in February 25th, and officials should be prepared for the outbreak, CDC officials warned.

The United States needs at least 300 million N95 masks to fight against the spread of the virus, but there is only a small amount of reserves available for immediate use, health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in Congress. Azar said it would take time to store 300 million N95 masks

According to an official of the Ministry of homeland security, the Ministry of public health and services and the National Security Department discussed the possibility of expanding the production scale of personal protective equipment by exercising the power given by the national defense production act in an inter departmental conference call on Wednesday (25). A White House official also confirmed that the government is studying the use of the bill to improve the production of protective equipment.

For example, company a produces a large number of masks, but they use 80% of the assembly line to produce masks for painters, and only 20% of the production line is producing N95 masks, said the White House official. We will have the right to tell the enterprise, no, you adjust your production line, now 80% will produce N95 masks, and 20% will produce other masks.

The homeland security official said the current supply of such protective equipment produced in the United States is insufficient. Obviously, these things are rarely produced in the United States, so if we can only rely on domestic production capacity, the situation may become very serious, the official added

The use of the powers given by the bill is one of the many options the government is considering to fight the epidemic and no final decision has yet been made, the two officials said. Trump used the power given by the bill in 2017 to solve the technology shortage of vaccine production capacity and microelectronics and other projects.