The Defense Production Act (DPA), passed in 1950 during the Korean War, replaced similar federal statutes that were used during World War II to give the President the authority to obligate select American companies to help produce critical items for national defense. Over the decades, Congress has reauthorized the DPA, and has expanded the definition of “national defense,” to include natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other national emergencies. Most Presidents since 1950 have used the DPA. President Trump recently issued an Executive Order invoking the DPA to require General Motors to produce ventilators, and further use of the DPA in this crisis is likely. Join us as we discuss the origins of the DPA, how it works, what it allows the President to order, and how it can be used to fight COVID-19.
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