Trade adviser: Trump to 'move swiftly' to expand use of Defense Production Act

Trade adviser: Trump to 'move swiftly' to expand use of Defense Production Act
© Greg Nash

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said in an interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE will “move swiftly” to expand the use of the Defense Production Act (DPA) for development of medical supplies.

Navarro told the Post that the act could be helpful in incentivizing private companies to increase their supply lines and mass produce the necessary equipment to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“As Congress adds funds to DPA Title III, this invaluable tool can be strategically used to provide both surge capacity and longer run capabilities through funding key projects,” he said in an interview with the Post.

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The trade adviser, who called himself the “DPA Policy Coordinator,” said the administration plans to use the act to have the federal government fund Maine-based Puritan Medical Products to develop 20 million extra swabs per month for testing.

Navarro acknowledged that the White House would consider using the “heavier hand” of the act if private companies cannot meet the needs of the nation. But he said the “patriotic cooperation” from companies has been “astonishing and heartwarming,” according to the Post. 

Trump announced Sunday that he plans to use the act to increase production of swabs for coronavirus testing. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoLetitia James holding private talks on running for New York governor: report Governors brace for 2022 after year in pandemic spotlight Tucker Carlson says he lies when 'I'm really cornered or something' MORE (D) had called for the DPA to be used for testing supplies earlier this month.   

The White House trade adviser also told the Post that the administration is also considering policies to increase U.S. manufacturing in the long run, including mandates for purchasing medicine and medical supplies domestically.

Critics, including presumptive Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE, have slammed Trump and his administration for moving too slowly to enforce the DPA to instruct companies to make needed supplies. Biden has said the delay in action has led to shortages of medical and testing equipment.