President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer chairman of Wisconsin GOP party signals he will comply with Jan. 6 committee subpoena Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon tells Russia to stand down Billionaire GOP donor maxed out to Manchin following his Build Back Better opposition 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 BarrHow President Biden can win back momentum on women's rights Kellyanne Conway memoir set for May release The Hill's Morning Report - US warns Kremlin, weighs more troops to Europe 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.
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 GrishamKellyanne Conway memoir set for May release The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden clarifies his remarks on Russia The Hill's Morning Report - Voting rights takes center stage for Democrats MORE tweeted a photo of Trump earlier signing the executive order alongside Barr and Azar in the Oval Office.
President @realDonaldTrump just signed an EO to prevent hoarding & price gouging of supplies needed in our war against the #Coronavirus. This sends a strong message – we will not let those hoarding vital supplies & price gougers to harm the health of America in this hour of need. pic.twitter.com/eksxQOVKNM— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) March 23, 2020