Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies

Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE signed an executive order Monday aimed at preventing price gouging and hoarding of critical medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFormer prosecutors outraged at decision to dismiss the Flynn case should focus on the real problems The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation More than two dozen former prosecutors, judges, active trial lawyers support DOJ decision to dismiss Michael Flynn case MORE detailed the executive order at a White House briefing Monday evening, saying it would prohibit people from accumulating critical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to profit off of them.

Barr said the Department of Justice (DOJ) had seen potential evidence of hoarding and price gouging amid the pandemic.

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Trump is authorized under the Defense Production Act to prohibit hoarding of needed resources by designating them as scarce or threatened by people accumulating excessive amounts, Barr said.

The executive order signed by Trump on Monday gives Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar the authority to designate certain supplies as critical, meaning those found to be hoarding or price gouging such equipment could face criminal action, Barr said.

“Once specific materials are so designated, persons are prohibited from accumulating those items in excess of reasonable personal or business needs or for the purpose of selling them in excess of prevailing market prices,” Barr said.

“It is a crime to engage in prohibited activity,” the attorney general continued.

No materials have been designated as critical, Barr said, but the DOJ and HHS are working together to identify possible cases where hoarding is hampering response efforts amid the coronavirus outbreak.

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamPence names new press secretary McEnany: Prayer 'made a lot of difference' in 2016 election McEnany stamps her brand on White House press operation MORE tweeted a photo of Trump earlier signing the executive order alongside Barr and Azar in the Oval Office.

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