President Donald Trump announced Friday that he would invoke powers granted to him under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order General Motors to begin producing ventilators to address a nationwide shortage amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump's order came the same day that GM announced that it was partnering with Ventec Life Systems to mass produce ventilators at its manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana. The facility has the capacity to make 10,000 ventilators a month, and hopes to begin shipping them by April.
During a briefing at the White House on Friday, Trump said the declaration was a sign that the federal government would use all of the power lawfully available to it to fight the virus. He also added that after invoking the order, GM does "agree" to a deal, and added he might be bale to "pull" the order.
Trump's statement comes hours after he tweeted that GM needed to "immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!!" In an earlier tweet, he threatened to "invoke P," which he later clarified referred to the DPA.
As usual with “this” General Motors, things just never seem to work out. They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, “very quickly”. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B. Invoke “P”.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 27, 2020
During a call with Fox News on Thursday, Trump questioned whether some states needed the number of ventilators they were requesting.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pleaded with the federal government to address a ventilator shortage in his state, the hardest hit by the coronavirus.