Congressman Doyle Demands President Trump Use the Defense Production Act to Save American Lives

April 9, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – April 9, 2020 – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (PA-18) demanded today that President Trump use the powers granted him under the Defense Production Act to meet a dire shortage of critical medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need to use all our resources to support our health care workers and save lives during this pandemic. The Trump Administration’s decision not to use the full authority he has been granted under the Defense Production Act to produce life-saving medical equipment is mind-boggling.

“Health care workers are putting their own lives on the line to save others every time they go to work. Nurses and doctors don’t have enough testing supplies or ventilators, and they’re reusing masks and other personal protective equipment -- and President Trump himself has said that things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. 

“I need to be able to look my constituents in the eye and tell them we’ve done everything we can to equip our health care providers and first responders with the medical supplies and personal protective equipment they need. I won’t stop pushing for this until President Trump fully utilizes the Defense Production Act to make the products needed to save American lives.”

The Defense Production Act allows the U.S. government to take a number of actions to increase the supply of materials needed to address a national emergency, such as requiring companies to manufacture much-needed equipment or increase their production, as well as prioritizing the distribution of these materials to areas with the greatest need. 

States are facing a dangerous lack of medical and protective supplies, including diagnostic testing supplies, respirators, N95 masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). In Pittsburgh, health care facilities, first responders, and frontline workers have spoken up about the shortage of PPE and the risks it poses to their health as they try to keep the community safe and healthy.

President Trump invoked the Defense Production Act on March 18, 2020, but he has only used its authority to increase the production of ventilators. He has relied on companies volunteering to make up the remaining need for PPE, despite the fact that they often do not have the funding or materials required.

In marked contrast, the Trump Administration has used this measure extensively in other circumstances; for example, the Department of Defense has used it for the procurement of rare metals, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has used it for disaster response and recovery efforts.