Activate the Defense Production Act NOW

The novel coronavirus has put the country in the throes of a crisis, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since World War II. This crisis doesn’t require bombs and bullets; it requires personal protective equipment (PPE), tests, and ventilators.

During World War II, the federal government was producing up to one bomber plane an hour in plants that were previously used to produce cars. It’s been nearly a week since Trump enacted the Defense Production Act, but the powers have yet to be wielded.

The Defense Production Act gives the president the power to demand factories to produce the PPE, tests, and ventilators the country desperately needs. The need has been here for weeks. Trump has said, “let’s wait and see.” Wait and see? The projections have come to fruition and future projections are imminent and much worse. Trump says if we should “wait and see,” as if he could snap his fingers and all the needed supplies would instantly appear.

It takes time to get plants setup to begin manufacturing new equipment. It takes time to manufacture the equipment. It takes time to distribute the equipment. Time is something we don’t have.

“Wait and see” is reactionary. It’s not the strategic approach that’s needed during times of war or crisis. We can’t afford to be reactionary —we must be proactive. We know the surge is coming. FEMA has already declared New York a major disaster zone. The time for decisive action to arm our frontline soldiers in this war —our healthcare providers— is now. The time to produce ventilators to keep our citizens alive is now.

Trump needs to use his authority, under the Defense Production Act, to produce these critical supplies NOW.