- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 22, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said states are “savaging” other states and those in need face rampant price gouging as they scramble to find medical gear to combat the coronavirus.

The Democrat said the federal government ought to intervene by using the Defense Production Act immediately.

The 1950 law empowers the president to order up production from the private sector.

Mr. Cuomo said the president should direct apparel companies to make gowns. Other companies could make masks or ventilators.

“I think it is appropriate. If I had the power, I would do it in New York,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Because the situation is that critical.”

He said the ability to get equipment will be the difference between “life and death.”

President Trump took preliminarily measures to invoke war-scale production but hasn’t compelled any firms to produce materials. He says many are coming forward voluntarily, including automakers who will attempt to make ventilators.

Many governors and mayors would like Mr. Trump to be more forceful, saying their hospitals face a critical shortfall in personal protective equipment.

The Trump administration has been discussing the use of the act for weeks.

“We will use the Defense Production Act as necessary to enable that our contracts go to the front of the line on contracting. So that is an authority that we have, and we intend to use it to acquire anything that we need to acquire,” Health Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Feb. 28. “We won’t use it unnecessarily, of course. We don’t want to be disruptive if that’s not needed. But if we need to, we will use it.  We won’t hesitate.”



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