President Donald Trump implemented the Defense Production Act, meaning the federal government can require private businesses to accept contracts to produce items needed in a time of war/crisis. In this case, Trump said he would have General Motors produce ventilators to be used by hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
"Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course," Trump said in a statement. "GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives."
Some, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, have urged Trump to implement the Defense Production Act earlier. Until now, Trump said he believed the private sector could fill the gap and provide needed equipment.
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“It can’t just be, ‘Hey who wants to help? Let me know,’” Cuomo said on Monday. “We need to know the numbers of what we need to produce and who is going to produce that and when.”