FEMA Is Using Defense Production Act To Get COVID-19 Tests

Clay Curtis
March 25, 2020

Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told CNN the administration had chose to use the Defense Production Act to procure 60,000 coronavirus test kits, in what would mark the first use of the act to confront the coronavirus crisis.

"A short time ago my team arrived and we will be using DPA for the first time today", said Gaynor.

The states have said they need Trump to take over distribution, as the current process forces the 50 states to compete, the federal government, and hospitals for medical supplies.

At a press conference Sunday, Trump shrugged off a reporter's question about more aggressively deploying the law to increase production of critical supplies, claiming, "We're a country not based on nationalizing our business".

"Obviously the White House has put a call out for companies to help, but frankly we were doing this, getting all this in motion before that". New York, New York City, Washington state and Los Angeles and California - that is where we are focused.

One of those rumors, said Gaynor, is that FEMA doesn't have money on hand to procure supplies.

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Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNN that the administration had chose to use the law, which President Donald Trump recently said he would invoke, because "there's some test kits we need to get our hands on".

"So, again, we want to be thoughtful about not upsetting the balance, making sure that we can get it onto the market and the federal government not consume it all". "We're going to use it for about 60,000 test kits, and really we're going to use the allocation portion of the DPA". Millions of masks are coming back to the United States.

However, he's faced criticism over the past few days not using the act's powers to mandate the production of medical supplies, despite reports of dwindling amounts of masks, gloves, ventilators and coronavirus tests around the U.S.

"Only the federal government has that power and not to exercise that power is inexplicable to me", Cuomo said at a briefing on Tuesday. "We urge you to move forward in using these authorities immediately, for the sake of the health and well-being of the American people". "I do not for the life of me understand the reluctance to use the federal Defense Production Act".

Critics have accused the president of moving too slowly to use the law's muscle to ramp up production of critically needed supplies, including N95 respirators and ventilators.

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