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A M Reid
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for President Donald Trump to “immediately” use the full powers of the Defense Production Act (DPA) to prevent shortages of life-saving medical supplies and personal protection equipment amid the pandemic.
“It’s the governors, the mayors, people across the country who are saying, ‘We need the equipment, the personal protective equipment for the workers, the ventilators and other equipment for the patients’… So, I would say to the president, immediately implement the Defense Production Act insisting that businesses in our country turn to producing the equipment that we need,” Pelosi said Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
“We’re asking people to risk their lives to save other lives. We’re asking people to make judgments about who gets a ventilator or not. That should not be happening,” she added.
Her comments come after health care workers across multiple states have spoken up about not having enough personal protection equipment and vital supplies like ventilators. They have expressed concerns that if more equipment and supplies are not provided soon, they will be unable to support the increasing number of COVID-19 patients.
“We have to have gowns, masks, and face shields. All those are in limited supply,” remarked Allan Kamara, an emergency room nurse in San Jose. “We are being put in a position where we have to do a job that we really want to do, but we don’t have the supplies to do that job right.”
Despite Pelosi’s claim that Trump is not utilizing the DPA, last Friday, Trump invoked the act to order General Motors to manufacture ventilators and prioritize their production.
“Our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course,” Trump noted in a statement. “GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”
Two days later, Trump praised General Motors, saying that they seem to be “doing a fantastic job,” and “I don’t think we have to worry about General Motors now.”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski, referring to Trump using the act for General Motors, asked Pelosi if she was therefore suggesting that there is more “he could be doing to actually trigger it?”
“Yes, so he has discreetly done something about ventilators but there is an overall appeal for him to do much, much more, and this is nothing that can be handled piecemeal. It has to be across the board, this isn’t partisan in any way,” Pelosi explained. “American people are concerned about…the personal protection equipment for our workers, the equipment to save the lives of our patients, and that act can help with that.”
Pelosi shared a similar response in a statement released the same day Trump invoked the act:
“The news that the President will finally begin to use the Defense Production Act to mass produce ventilators is an important but seriously belated step. Much more must be done. The president must use the full powers of this law to address the dire, widespread shortage of materials required to fight this pandemic, including diagnostic test supplies, masks and other personal protective equipment.”
During the interview, Pelosi also emphasized the need for more widespread and effective testing measures.
“Proper testing, that’s been a problem since the start,” Pelosi stated. “We haven’t had the proper testing.”
Her view on testing stands in stark contrast to Trump’s, who recently said on a conference call with governors that he had not “heard about testing being a problem.”
Trump has since addressed Pelosi’s remarks on Morning Joe, tweeting:
“Watched a portion of low rated (very) Morning Psycho (Joe) this Morning in order to see what Nancy Pelosi had to say, & what moves she was planning to further hurt our Country. Actually, other than her usual complaining that I’m a terrible person, she wasn’t bad. Still praying!”
The United States now has nearly 200,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and the death toll has exceeded 3,400.
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