Invoking the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA), President Trump signed several presidential memoranda at the end of last week. These memoranda focus on the need for and production of ventilators and face masks for use in the United States to address the COVID-19 emergency. The key provisions of these memoranda are as follows:
- On April 2, power was delegated to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) (in consultation with the Secretary for Homeland Security) to "use any and all authority" under the DPA to produce ventilators.
- On April 2, similar authority was delegated to the Secretary of Homeland Security (and on to the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)) "to acquire, from any appropriate subsidiary or affiliate of 3M Company, the number of N-95 respirators that the [FEMA] Administrator determines to be appropriate."
- On April 3, authority was delegated to the Secretary of Homeland Security (and on to the FEMA Administrator and in consultation with the Secretary of HHS) to allocate to domestic use, as appropriate, certain face masks. Given the strong domestic need for such resources in order to respond to the spread of COVID-19, it is now the policy of the United States to prevent the export of certain air-purifying or filtering face masks or surgical masks.