- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2020

Senate Democrats on Monday announced legislation to compel President Trump to implement the Defense Production Act, which gives the White House broad latitude to force the private sector to procure certain goods, in light of the expanding coronavirus outbreak.

The bill from Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii would force Mr. Trump to identify private sector capacity for 500 million respirators and pairs of gloves, 20 million face shields, 20 million surgical gowns, and 200,000 ventilators, among other medical equipment.

“The current system, in which states and hospitals are competing against each other for scarce equipment, is both unnecessary and barbaric,” Mr. Murphy said. “Enough is enough. It’s time to centralize the critical medical supply chain and distribution during this public health crisis.”

Democrats have pressed Mr. Trump to fully leverage the Korean War-era law amid national shortages of hospital equipment and medical supplies.

But the president has said companies are stepping up on their own to fill demand and that the U.S. has historically been wary of nationalizing major industries.

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