President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he was invoking the Defense Production Act to aid manufacturing companies that are shifting their operations to produce respiratory ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
Trump and the White House named 3M and six other companies the order will cover, and the President later lashed out at 3M on Twitter late Thursday in a vague criticism of the company’s production response to the pandemic.
“Moments ago, I directed Secretary Azar and acting Secretary Wolf to use any and all available authority under the Defense Protection Act to ensure that domestic manufacturers have the supplies they need to produce ventilators for patients with severe cases of Covid-19,” Trump said at his Thursday press conference.
A memo from the White House said the order authorizes the US Health and Human Services Secretary to help facilitate the supply of materials needed to produce the ventilators at manufacturers General Electric, Hill-Rom Holdings, Medtronic, Resmed, Royal Phillips N.V. and Vyaire Medical.
“I am grateful to these and other domestic manufacturers for ramping up their production of ventilators during this difficult time,” a White House statement from Trump said. “Today’s order will save lives by removing obstacles in the supply chain that threaten the rapid production of ventilators.”
A separate memorandum on the Defense Production Act (DPA) Thursday states that the Secretary of Homeland Security is authorized to use all authority under the DPA to acquire the number of necessary N95 respirators from 3M and any of its subsidiaries.
Late Thursday night, Trump lashed out at 3M in a Tweet: “We hit 3M hard today after seeing what they were doing with their Masks. ‘P Act’ all the way.’ Big surprise to many in government as to what they were doing – will have a big price to pay!” the president said.
At a Thursday White House briefing, Trump said he had signed a DPA for 3M to produce face masks, adding, “Hopefully they’ll be able to do what they are supposed to do.”