US President Donald Trump on Friday ordered General Motors to make ventilators under the Defense Production Act (DPA).
DPA originated as a reaction to the Korean War and entitles the government to force American businesses to produce products and materials that are in high-demand or short supply during a national emergency. Trump recently declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. Invoking the DPA is aimed at addressing the urgent shortage of medical supplies that has resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The order came just a few hours after General Motors (GM) went public with their plans to repurpose their automobile plant in Indiana to manufacture ventilators with Ventec Life Systems. GM has made public statements, expressing its continued interest in supporting ventilator manufacturing:
“Our commitment to build Ventec’s high-quality critical care ventilator, VOCSN, has never wavered. The partnership between Ventec and GM combines global expertise in manufacturing quality and a joint commitment to safety to give medical professionals and patients access to life-saving technology as rapidly as possible. The entire GM team is proud to support this initiative.”
Despite this announcement, Trump has criticized General Motors for moving too slowly. Trump explained in his statement
that implementing the DPA will remove time-consuming negotiations between the White House and GM and “will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”