What is the Defense Production Act?
The Defense Production Act (DPA) gives the President broad authorities to ensure that domestic industry meets national defense requirements. I have strongly urged the President to use the full authorities of the DPA under Titles I, III, and VII, as necessary, to massively scale up production and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits, ventilators, and other critical materials that our country needs during the coronavirus emergency. We are in the midst of a national crisis, and only the executive branch can invoke the DPA to address this national emergency.
The Defense Production Act was enacted in 1950 to allow the federal government to mandate the mass-production and speed distribution of vital goods during national emergencies, like the one we are currently facing.
The recently passed law provides $1 billion to the Department of Defense for use under the DPA to invest in manufacturing capabilities that are key to increasing the production of PPE and medical equipment to meet the increased demand. It also waives certain DPA notifications, prior Congressional approval, and spending requirements so that the Trump Administration can use this funding immediately to address shortages in PPE, ventilators, beds, diagnostic test kits, and other urgently-needed medical supplies and equipment, and engage in other essential activities during the COVID-19 emergency.