Reps. Payne, Sherrill Urge Greater Use of Defense Production Act

New Jersey’s elected officials are among those calling for President Donald Trump to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to better respond to the expanding coronavirus outbreak.

Rep. Mikie Sherrill joined a bipartisan group of seven House Democrats and seven House Republicans urging President Trump to leverage the powers afforded by the DPA to better meet healthcare supply needs.

The coalition called the coronavirus pandemic the greatest healthcare crisis in the past century. The group questioned why after the President for signed an executive order invoking the DPA, he not used it more frequently.

Helping First Responders

The group noted healthcare providers and first responders were the first and best line of defense against spread of the disease.

“The [DPA] gives the President the tools he needs to ensure they have access to lifesaving equipment. New Jersey has the second highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country, and we must do everything possible to get our frontline workers personal protective gear and ensure a stable supply line,” said Rep. Sherrill.

Introduced by Rep. Andy Levin (D-MI), the coalition includes Reps. Don Bacon, Steve Chabot, Rodney Davis, Diana DeGette, Anthony Gonzalez, Bill Huizenga, Dan Kildee, Ted Lieu, Katie Porter, Abigail Spanberger, Van Taylor, and Fred Upton.

Used Quickly

Rep. Levin said the act needed to be used quickly as lifesaving equipment was becoming more and more scarce. Additionally, frontline workers were without the personal protective equipment they need.

“A nurse in my district described her ER as a ‘war zone’ in the fight for masks, everyone given one per shift. Soon, our health care workers will be battling for their patients to get the one ventilator available. We cannot wait for that day to come,” Rep. Levin said.

Payne, Jr., Tells Feds to Do More

Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., called on the federal government to do more in the battle against the coronavirus as well, imploring President Trump specifically to use the DPA.

Payne insisted the President could use the act to direct companies in their production of critical healthcare equipment, including ventilators and personal protective equipment. He lamented his belief that the Trump Administration could do more to deliver critical supplies to those who needed them.

Ventilators Needed

“Americans are dying of this disease every day and the President waits two weeks to order companies to make ventilators,” the Congressman stated. “Instead of showing true leadership, he prefers to pick fights with state governors and wait for companies to volunteer to make medical supplies without any direction on how many they should make.  He has failed to take this public health and economic crisis seriously since day one.

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