WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Hospital systems nationwide share concerns that an influx of coronavirus patients might overwhelm them. Congress says the president has one tool that he can use to help solve that problem, one which he hasn’t used yet.
It may only be a matter of days before California hospitals reach full capacity.
“The hospitals in my district in Los Angeles, they may have two dozen ventilators, half of which are already in use by non-coronavirus patients,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said.
That’s why Congressman Schiff and other Democrats are calling on the president to use his authority under the National Defense Production Act to compel manufacturers to produce necessary supplies, like ventilators.
“The administration should make use of that,” Schiff said.
“When this was announced, it sent tremors through our business community. You’re talking about, you’re going to nationalize an industry,” President Donald Trump said.
President Trump said Sunday that he’s not ruling out using the Defense Production Act but says he’d prefer if American manufacturers volunteer to produce medical equipment.
He likened the emergency measure to socialism.
“Call a person over in Venezuela and ask them how did nationalization of their businesses work out? Not too well,” President Trump said.
“He doesn’t understand what nationalization is. This is simply to organize industries to meet a critical, national emergency,” Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) said.
Congressman Garamendi says if the president doesn’t enforce the National Defense Production Act, the shortage of necessary medical equipment will create a bidding war among hospitals and states.
“It is unbelievable the president isn’t using the power that’s given to him,” Garamendi said.
He says it may be the only way to meet the demands of the current crisis.
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