March 27, 2020 / Matt Perez, Forbes Staff
Topline: A day after saying “we don’t need” the Defense Production Act, which allows the federal government to compel companies to develop supplies for national defense, President Trump has invoked the act to order General Motors to “accept, perform and prioritize federal contracts for ventilators,” according to multiple reports.
- Following a story from the New York Times Thursday detailing the flagging negotiations between the federal government and General Motors, Trump took to Twitter Friday to criticize GM and its CEO Mary T. Barra while threatening the use of the act, saying it must open its Lordstown plant in Ohio.
- Earlier in the day, GM announced it had partnered with Ventec Life Systems to produce ventilators at its Kokomo, Indiana facility, saying it would have its first shipment next month and be able to produce 10,000 per month.
- When asked about fully invoking the Defense Production Act at daily briefings, Trump has repeatedly name-dropped GM as a company volunteering to assist in supply shortages, but negotiations with the car manufacturer apparently began to fracture this week, with the New York Times reporting that promises of 20,000 ventilators fell to 7,500 and an over billion-dollar price tag was being weighed against other offers by the White House.