President Donald Trump has been sending mixed signals about whether or not he has actually authorized the Defense Production Act to compel the private sector to produce new medical equipment — and as he does, so too have the federal agencies that would actually be carrying out his order.
Early on Tuesday, both the president and FEMA suggested that the DPA had been activated to procure test kits for coronavirus — but at his press conference in the afternoon, Trump seemed to reverse himself and say the government has not "found it to be the case" that DPA is necessary yet.
Trump, 8am: "The Defense Production Act is in full force, but haven’t had to use it.” @FEMA_Pete, 8:08am: The gove… https://t.co/pN6PbszacC— Rebecca Ballhaus (@Rebecca Ballhaus)1585087161.0
Shortly after the briefing, FEMA followed suit and suggested that the test kits, in fact, had not come about as a result of DPA.
JUST IN from FEMA spokeswoman: “At the last minute we were able to procure the test kits from the private market wi… https://t.co/kFNgDcNad5— Rebecca Ballhaus (@Rebecca Ballhaus)1585089920.0
Many experts and members of Congress in both parties have called on Trump to use the DPA. However, some business leaders, particularly the Chamber of Commerce, have reportedly been lobbying against it.