President Donald J. Trump joins Vice President Mike Pence as he addresses his remarks at a coronavirus (COVID-19) update briefing Friday, March 20, 2020, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

By Jon Dougherty

(TNS) Last week, President Donald Trump invoked the Korean War-ear Defense Production Act, giving him the authority to order U.S. manufacturers to produce certain goods needed to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

But the president thus far has not had to use that authority because American companies are doing a very American thing: They’re stepping up to donate or deliver on those items without being made to do so, according to the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We haven’t [enforced] it yet. It’s leverage to demonstrate what we can use it, the president can use it at any time,” FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

So far, U.S. companies are producing extra supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, latex gloves, and gowns used by healthcare workers. Some companies have even donated ventilators that may be needed if the outbreak worsens.

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“It’s really amazing how great America is. All these companies coming up and asking us what they can do to help. We haven’t had to use [the Defense Production Act] because companies around the country – donations,” Gaynor said. “They’re coming up and saying, ‘What can we do to help you?’ And it’s happening without using that lever.”

Indeed, the FEMA chief speculated that Trump would not have to use the DPA authorities at all.

He said the fact that businesses are naturally producing these goods is a sign of “America’s greatness.”

We’re not implying that companies would not have done this during the Obama administration, mind you.  But then again, Obama never invoked the DPA.


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