Chamber of Commerce ripped for lobbying against Trump using Defense Production Act for coronavirus
U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue (State Department picture)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was blasted on Monday for lobbying against President Donald Trump using the Defense Production Act to respond to critical shortages during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Trump allowed himself to use the Act's extraordinary powers but has apparently not yet used the new authority.

"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the heads of major corporations have lobbied the administration against using the act," The New York Times reported Monday.

Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Murphy (D-CN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sent a letter (PDF) to the Chamber of Commerce demanding answers.

"This report, if true, is shameful, revealing that the Chamber is actively working against efforts to address the urgent national COVID-19 pandemic, and is placing the short-term desires of its members above the economic and public health needs of hundreds of millions of American families," they wrote. "You owe the public an explanation for this behavior."

"We urge you to cease your lobbying efforts against measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic," the lawmakers added.