Defense Production Act could help amid coronavirus, even as President Trump resists: experts

President Donald Trump‘s continued resistance to use his emergency powers to compel companies to produce medical supplies needed in the fight against the novel coronavirus has drawn a bipartisan chorus of criticism.

Experts say it could jumpstart domestic production, though global constraints may limit how quickly it could make an impact.

Unlike the United States, China has seized the opportunity, using its centralized, command-and-control economy to rapidly reset supply chains and churn out ventilators and personal protective equipment, according to Nick Vyas, the executive director of the Center for Global Supply Chain Management at the University of Southern California.

“We are missing the opportunity to take the leadership,” Vyas told ABC News. “We are missing the opportunity to prepare our public health response.”

The Trump administration is in the unique position to play a critical role at a time of national crisis, and the DPA would “absolutely” help, he said.

“We can certainly create internal capacity for the oncoming demand we anticipate,” Vyas said. “I think the federal government needs to insert itself in two ways: infusing the capital and creating an incentive.”

Trump has explained that he does not like “the concept of nationalizing our business” by employing the act — although the law’s levers give him ways to get involved in much less intrusive ways.

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