President Donald Trump on Wednesday invoked the Defense Production Act of 1950 in response to the threat posed by the novel coronavirus.
The act, initially passed in response to the Korean War, gives the federal government broad authority and tools to influence domestic industrial production in certain emergencies.
In this instance, the production in question is medical supplies, specifically masks, respirators and ventilators, which the president said are widely needed as the nation fights the outbreak of COVID-19.
“The number of masks are incredible,” he said during an afternoon news briefing. “We’ve ordered millions of them, but we need millions more.”
That said, President Trump did not indicate when the Act may be put into action.
“If we need to use it, we will be using it and full speed ahead,” Trump said.
Hours later the president tweeted that he invoked the Defense Production Act should it be needed “in a worst case scenario in the future.”