President Trump on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act to mobilize the private sector to manufacture goods needed to fight the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation allows the president to require production and orders from certain industries to prioritize the response to a national emergency. Originally passed in 1950, the legislation was first used in the Korean War and has been activated in response to various crises since that time.
“Right after we finish this conference, I’ll be signing it and it’s prepared to go,” Trump said at a press briefing at the White House. The legislation will be used to ramp up production of medical supplies needed to treat coronavirus patients.
Trump’s announcement came minutes before former vice president Joe Biden’s campaign released its own statement urging Trump to invoke the DPA.
During the press briefing, Trump said he viewed himself as a “war-time president.”
“We had the best economy we ever had, and one day you have to close it down to defeat this enemy,” Trump told reporters.
The Trump administration is working with Republican senators on a possible $1 trillion economic stimulus to offset the economic impact of the pandemic. While details of the stimulus have not been finalized, the administration has been pushing for direct cash payments to Americans below a certain income level to help keep the economy afloat.