The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the heads of major corporations have lobbied the administration against using the [Defense Production Act]. They say the move could prove counterproductive, imposing red tape on companies precisely when they need flexibility to deal with closed borders and shuttered factories. Mr. Trump and the director of his national economic council, Larry Kudlow, as well as Mr. Kushner, were persuaded by those arguments, administration officials said.
Reaction from Derek Martin, director of consumer watchdog Allied Progress:
“Who is running the coronavirus response — the government or unaccountable corporations? The Trump White House has the full power of the federal government at its fingertips and legal authority to orchestrate full scale production of badly needed equipment. Instead, they’re wasting precious little time waiting on corporate America to take charge, because the U.S. Chamber told them to back off. The President seems content to let the buck stop with anyone but him, and it’s left a void of leadership and coordination that could very quickly prove disastrous.”