President Donald Trump is considering invoking special powers through the 1950 Defense Production Act to ramp up the production of protective masks and clothing because…you guessed it… all that stuff comes from China.
The establishment sold us out for money and this is one consequence. Now, Trump has managed to make corporations think about the China supply chain since day one but this emergency reminds us of how far we have yet to go.
“Very little of this stuff is apparently made in the United States, so if we’re down to domestic capability to produce, it could get tough,” the DHS official told Reuters on why Trump may make this move.
The United States needs a stockpile of about 300 million N95 face masks to combat the virus but we have only a small fraction of that available.
The law grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons. The biggest producers of face masks in the United States include 3M Corp, Honeywell International Inc and Kimberly-Clark Corp…
…During an interagency call on Wednesday, officials from HHS and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) discussed the possibility of invoking the Defense Production Act for the manufacture of “personal protective equipment” that can be worn to prevent infection, according to a DHS official.
Such equipment can include masks, gloves and body suits.
Azar said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday that China controls “a lot of the raw materials as well as the manufacturing capacity” related to face masks.
“Very little of this stuff is apparently made in the (United) States, so if we’re down to domestic capability to produce, it could get tough,” the DHS official told Reuters.
A White House official confirmed that the administration was exploring the use of the law to spur manufacturing of protective gear. Both the DHS official and the White House requested anonymity to discuss the issue.
“Let’s say ‘Company A’ makes a multitude of respiratory masks but they spend 80% of their assembly lines on masks that painters wear and only 20% on the N95,” the White House official said. “We will have the ability to tell corporations, ‘No, you change your production line so it is now 80% of the N95 masks and 20% of the other.’”