President Donald Trump’s refusal to invoke powers under a little-known law called the Defense Production Act could cost lives, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested on Sunday.
Last week, Trump promised to invoke the law, which grants him the authority to order production companies to create supplies that are presently in short supply. But he’s since reneged on that promise, saying over the weekend that he’d only utilize the powers in a “worst-case scenario” situation.
A number of lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle are calling on him to use the act, however, since there are shortages of ventilators, masks, hospital beds, and more, due to the outbreak of coronavirus across the United States.
Trump has said he wants governors to do more, and believes that companies are already doing enough to combat the disease without him making an order demanding them to do so. But Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of New York City, disagrees, saying the time to act is now rather than later when it may be too late.
“We cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers … we need to start this production right now to get ready for the surge that is coming in two to three weeks.” -Rep. @AOC reacts to Pres. Trump not enforcing the Defense Production Act. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/sENJMXfHkC
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) March 22, 2020
“We cannot wait until people start really dying in large numbers to start production, especially of more complicated equipment like ventilators and hospital beds,” Ocasio-Cortez said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday. “We need to start this production right now to get ready for the surge that is coming in two to three weeks.”
AOC noted that the situation was already dire in her home district:
“There are not enough face masks, gloves, ventilators, hospital beds to get us through this. Many hospitals are already at capacity or are approaching capacity. And there is kind of no real stream in sight from the federal government on where these materials are coming from.”
Failing to act now is “going to cost lives,” she added.
More than 8,000 individuals in New York City have tested positive for the disease so far, with 1,000 already hospitalized. Sixty individuals have died from COVID-19 as of Sunday morning, and officials predict this is just the beginning.
“April is going to be worse than March,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently said. “And I fear May will be worse than April.”
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