White House Unveils Plan to Use Cold War-Era Law to Battle Supply Chain Issues

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Joe Biden will invoke a law passed during the Cold War, the White House said Monday, in order to strengthen American supply chains and goose domestic manufacturing ahead of the 2024 presidential election. The 1950 Defense Production Act, enacted in response to the outbreak of the Korean War, gives the executive branch the authority to compel U.S. companies to back projects in the interest of national security. It has been reauthorized more than 50 times since its initial passage, with periodic amendments, and was frequently used during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, it will be wielded to invest in “domestic manufacturing of essential medicines” and mitigate drug shortages, the White House said in a press release. The Department of Health and Human Services, which will be broadly empowered to authorize investment under the order, has “identified $35 million for investments in domestic production of key starting materials” for the project, the White House said.

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