As states scour the world for protective medical equipment, the feds repeatedly invoked a little-known clause in the Defense Production Act to step to the front of the line.
The Trump administration quietly invoked the Defense Production Act to force medical suppliers in Texas and Colorado to sell to it first—ahead of states, hospitals, or foreign countries.
> Without public awareness of what was taken on a federal-first basis—and who it was given to—the states are left in the dark after being told repeatedly to procure their own goods. The federal government, President Donald Trump has said, is not the states’ “shipping clerk.”
While the administration had asked the company to stop exporting respirators to the Latin American and Canadian markets, 3M stated in a press release Friday there would be humanitarian implications, since the company supplies a critical amount of those countries’ N95 masks. 3M also warned such a move could create a potential trade war where other countries then refuse to sell N95s to the U.S., potentially resulting in fewer N95s in the United States.