President Trump has disappointed state governors and local law makers by refusing to use the Defense Production Act, a wartime law to require major manufacturers to make vital equipment to combat the new coronavirus.
According to Truthout, last week, Trump signed the Defense Production Act, a Korean War-era law that allows the federal government to force American companies to ensure the availability of crucial equipment. But the president has refused to invoke the law even as governors across the country and lawmakers in Washington have warned that time is running out to stop the exponential spread of coronavirus infections.
“The fact that I signed it, it’s in effect. But you know, we’re a country not based on nationalizing our business. Call a person over in Venezuela, ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well,” states Trump.
One of the wealthiest countries in the world not having the basic supplies needed for this situation has baffled many and has left governors to have to fend for themselves.
“Right now, shortages of critical medical and personal protective equipment are harming our ability to fight the coronavirus epidemic, endangering frontline workers and making it harder to care for those who fall ill. The President must immediately use the powers of the Defense Production Act to mass produce and coordinate distribution of these critical supplies, before the need worsens and the shortages become even more dire. There is not a day to lose,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Why you ask?
According to Vanity Fair, it’s because corporate CEOs don’t like the idea, and the president is more concerned with keeping big business happy than keeping Americans alive.
White House adviser, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner has been lobbied by corporations to be the advisor on this issue. According to the New York Times, Mr. Kushner and other aides concluded that only FEMA had what they internally called the “battle rhythm” to be the lead agency. But although the agency has experience cleaning up after tornadoes and hauling in trailers for temporary housing, “it likely won’t know a thing about medical supply chains and devices,” said Christopher Kirchhoff, who examined the capabilities of each government agency for the Obama administration and wrote a detailed report of its shortcomings in dealing with the H1N1 swine flu virus, and then Ebola.
While a lot of U.S. companies are still stepping forward and voluntarily making a suppling hostels with masks and ventilators, federal coordination is still a necessity.