- How automakers are repairing respirators in Brazil
The Department of Health and Human Services contract is the first for the production of respirators under the Defense Production Act, invoked by President Donald Trump to get companies to produce essential equipment needed to fight the pandemic (read more below).
GM will work with the ventilator company Ventec Life Systems to deliver 30,000 respirators under contract to the US government by the end of August, with deliveries of the first 6,132 equipment taking place by June 1.
General Motors will supply equipment to the United States government – Photo: REUTERS / Rebecca Cook
The company "will comply with the government contract and (has) the ability to supply more if needed," said GM spokesman Jim Cain, adding that the contract also includes "consumables and accessories (hoses, supports, etc.) to support each unit ".
GM vice president Gerald Johnson told Reuters last month that the automaker is spending tens of millions on parts replacement costs while producing respirators, and that, if these costs are considered, total expenses will be hundreds millions of dollars.
Last week, Ford also said it would produce 50,000 fans in the next 100 days at a plant in Michigan, in cooperation with General Electric's health facility.
The Defense Production Act, used by Trump, was signed in 1950 because the U.S. feared supply problems during the Korean War. It has been triggered several times since then in situations such as wars, hurricanes and terrorism prevention.
Trump defined himself as a "wartime president," and said he would use the powers of law if the country needs it.
In practice, the law gives the federal government the authority to direct private companies to meet the country's defense needs.