US President Donald Trump has repeatedly said he’s invoking the Defense Production Act to ramp up production, but he hasn’t wielded his federal powers yet as health officials voice alarm about potential shortages of lifesaving medical supplies like ventilators and protective gear for doctors on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump signed the measure after several people urged him to act amid mounting concerns over a supplies shortage, a person familiar with the situation told CNN. But as he signed the emergency bill earlier this week, the administration had yet to conduct a full account of inventory across the nation. Nor had it identified which companies it would need to make what products. That still hadn’t been done as of Friday night, this person said, despite Trump insisting the act would be used to acquire “millions of masks.”

Amid the confusion over whether he’ll act or not, several companies have cast doubt on whether the President needs to carry out orders under the Defense Production Act at all. And several aides have privately advised against it.

The Defense Production Act, legislation passed in the 1950s on the cusp of the Korean War, provides the President with a broad set of powers to require businesses to “prioritize and accept government contracts” as well as “provide economic incentives” to ensure the US has the stockpiles it needs to handle an impending medical crisis.

Source: CNN News

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