WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The White House says the president used the Defense Production Act 78 times since the pandemic struck the United States.
“To achieve the greatest industrial mobilization since World War II,” President Donald Trump said.
Trump says he’s used his power, and $3.5 billion in federal funding, to force companies to start up or speed up the development and manufacturing of materials like personal protective equipment.
“The masks, the respirators, the goggles, the gloves, the vaccine development, plus the testing equipment,” Presidential Advisor Peter Navarro said.
Navarro says many companies acted on their own — without a presidential order.
“Because they know if they don’t do what we need to get done, the DPA’s gonna come for them,” Navarro said.
The White House is responding to strong criticism from the Democrats who say the president hasn’t done enough with the powers the DPA gives him to battle the pandemic.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says coronavirus tests are too few and take too long for results and the president should act now.
“But it would require the Defense Production Act because the firms that are excelling in this do not have the production capacity to take us to three million a day,” Pelosi said.
Navarro says Democrats are attacking the president only to help Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“They want to blame this administration for the pandemic. That’s bad politics that’s going to hurt the American people,” Navarro said.