Trump says he will use Defense Production Act to increase swabs for testing

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick 'threatens' Affordable Care Act MORE announced Sunday that he will use the Defense Production Act to direct a company to increase production of badly-needed swabs for coronavirus testing.

Trump said at a White House news briefing that he would use the Korean War-era law to direct one company that the administration has "had a little difficulty" with to increase swab production by over 20 million swabs per month.

He did not name the company and he did not provide further details.


"We're calling in the Defense Production Act and we'll be getting swabs very easily," Trump said.

Swabs are among the key testing supplies that governors and health experts have been clamoring for weeks for the Trump administration to play a larger role in increasing.

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNew York reports 1,000 daily new COVID-19 cases for first time since June Overnight Health Care: Trump signs largely symbolic pre-existing conditions order amid lawsuit | White House puts off action on surprise medical bills | Rising coronavirus cases spark fears of harsh winter NY health officials to review any vaccine approved by Trump MORE (D) called on Trump to use the DPA to increase testing supplies on April 10, for example, and Trump had previously declined to, though he has used the law for other supplies like ventilators.

Trump has made shifting statements on the law in the past and even on Sunday left open the possibility that the law would not need to be used on swabs.

"We have one company that we're forced to use it with and probably by tomorrow we won't be," he said.

In addition to swabs, governors and labs have also been pushing for more production of other key testing supplies, such as reagent, a chemical needed to run the tests.


But Trump said at this point he would not be using the law to increase reagent production.

"Reagents and swabs are so easy to get," Trump said when asked about the chemicals.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said on CNN earlier Sunday that a lack of testing continues to be the "number one problem in America," though some strides are being made.

"It's not accurate to say there's plenty of testing out there, and the governors should just get it done," he said. "That's just not being straightforward."