Trump May Invoke Defense Production Act for COVID-19 Vaccines as Talks on New Stimulus Bill Continue

By Adriana Anastasiades Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The US has continued to prepare for the vaccine rollout after the number of infected individuals rose to over 15 million people across the country, according to John Hopkins University. Authorities hope to have up to 45 million people vaccinated by the end of January.

Trump May Invoke Defense Production Act

The Department of Health and Human Services plans to vaccinate about 20 million people this month and another 20 to 25 million in January, according to Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services.

“My biggest worry is that we don't lose any vaccine to storage issues. We want to get as much of that vaccine into people as possible," said Dr. Richard Freeman.

US President Donald Trump said he may invoke the Defense Production Act if necessary to make sure US citizens are first to get the COVID-19 vaccine produced in the country.

“If necessary ... we’ll invoke the Defense Production Act, but we don’t think it will be necessary. If it is, it’s a very powerful act, as you know, because we’ve used it very, very successfully,” Trump said.

Following his comments at yesterday's summit in the White House, Trump signed an executive order that will provide American citizens with priority access to the COVID-19 vaccines over other nations.

The summit was organized to emphasize Trump’s efforts in pressing for quick progress on COVID-19 vaccine developments. During the event, the organizers played a video showing the former director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci saying he doubts the vaccine would launch before the end of 2020.

The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, which was more than 90% effective, is expected to obtain approval from the US. Food and Drug Administration as soon as this weekend.

“I’m staying out of this. I can’t comment,” said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, head of Trump’s vaccine initiative Operation Warp Speed, referring to the order.

“We feel that we can deliver the vaccines as needed, so I don’t exactly [know] what ... this order is about.”

The Defense Production Act was passed in the US in 1950, and it allows the US president to boost the output of key materials and products to protect national security if needed.

Trump Administration Submits a $916 Billion Stimulus Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken more than 283,000 lives in the US and caused millions of citizens to lose their jobs. As a result, there’s an increased pressure on Republicans and Democrats to find a solution and provide assistance to families and businesses hurt by the pandemic.

The Trump administration put forward a $916 billion COVID-19 aid package yesterday after Democrats rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel’s plan. Steven Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, said he proposed the $916 billion relief plan in a conversation with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Mnuchin said the plan includes aid for state and local governments, a Democratic priority, as well as liability protections for businesses, which represents a Republican priority.

McConnel proposed to lawmakers to come up with a more targeted COVID-19 aid package without the liability protections or the state and local government aid, which have been included in the controversial provisions during months-long disputes about a new COVID-19 aid package.

However, Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have shot down McConnel’s proposal and blamed him for attempting to disrupt bipartisan efforts to come to an agreement.

Pelosi and Schumer issued a joint statement emphasizing that McConnell signing off on the $916 billion proposal was progress; however, bipartisan negotiations represented the best opportunity to reach a solution.

Summary

President Donald Trump said he may decide to invoke the Defense Production Act if needed to ensure that Americans are on top of the list to get the COVID-19 vaccine. His administration also presented a new $916 billion COVID-19 aid package to Congress.

About the Author


Headshot for author Adriana Anastasiades

Adriana is a Journalist with a passion for reporting on business leadership, with a diverse interest in multiple industries.

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