President Joe Biden signed executive orders to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA) to increase the production and stockpiling of vaccines, medical and testing supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE).
The executive actions also boost public transparency and increase coordination with state and local entities, private industry, and essential workers. The orders also create a COVID-19 response coordinator to coordinate all elements of the COVID-19 response, including the production, procurement, and distribution of critical medical supplies.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) came out in support of the orders.
“Since March of last year, I’ve been calling for the full power of the Defense Production Act to be unleashed so we can massively scale up production of Made in America medical supplies, PPE, and testing equipment. The previous administration failed to do this, which has created supply chain issues that are having dangerous impacts on the nation’s response to COVID-19,” Baldwin said. “I applaud President Biden for taking action to activate authorities under the DPA that will increase our national production of the supplies we need to get through this pandemic, and his efforts to provide the leadership and transparency that the American people deserve.”
The orders will direct relevant agencies to exercise all appropriate authorities, including the DPA, to accelerate manufacturing, delivery, and administration to meet shortfalls in equipment and supplies needed for the COVID-19 response.
Since March, Baldwin has been calling for the full activation of the DPA to ramp up nationwide production of testing supplies, PPE, and medical equipment. Baldwin also led the call for this action as part of her Medical Supply Transparency and Delivery Act, which calls for using the DPA to mobilize a federal response to the pandemic through an equitable and transparent process.