US President Donald Trump announced on Friday he had put the wartime Defense Production Act into action to aid the fight against coronavirus after saying earlier this week he would invoke the measure when needed.
The measure is meant to allow the US government to speed production of masks, respirators, ventilators and other needed equipment.
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The president "is currently using it to drive the private-sector’s response to this crisis," said a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And the private-sector's response, to date, to his direction has been overwhelming, fulfilling government-identified needs faster than anyone thought possible," the official said.
The law, which dates to the Korean War of the 1950s, grants the president broad authority to "expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs," according to a summary on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.