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 TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE signed an executive order Monday aimed at preventing price gouging and hoarding of critical medical supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMichigan resident puts toilet on front lawn with sign 'Place mail in ballots here' Barr says Ginsburg 'leaves a towering legacy' Republicans call for DOJ to prosecute Netflix executives for releasing 'Cuties' 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 GrishamIvana Trump on Melania as first lady: 'She's very quiet, and she really doesn't go to too many places' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump uses White House as campaign backdrop Coronavirus tests not required for all Melania Trump speech attendees: report MORE tweeted a photo of Trump earlier signing the executive order alongside Barr and Azar in the Oval Office.

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