WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday afternoon that photography company Kodak will be creating a new division that will help make ingredients for use in generic drugs.
Eastman Kodak will receive a federal loan of $765 million to help reduce the country's reliance on other countries for ingredients used in generic drugs.
Kodak Pharmaceuticals will make critical pharmaceutical ingredients that have been identified as essential but have lapsed into chronic national shortage, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
The Kodak unit will have the capacity to produce up to 25% of active pharmaceutical ingredients used in non-biologic, non-antibacterial, generic pharmaceuticals.
The government loan will help support startup costs needed to repurpose and expand Kodak's existing facilities in Rochester and St. Paul, Minnesota.
It is the first use of new authority delegated by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order that allows the DFC and the Department of Defense to collaborate in support of the domestic response to COVID-19 under the Defense Production Act.
During Tuesday's press conference the president also noted that they are keeping a close eye on rising cases in several states including Arizona, Texas, Florida and California.
He encouraged all Americans to practice social distancing and to avoid avoid indoor gatherings, especially places like crowded bars, and said people should wear masks "wherever appropriate."
Tuesday's news conference comes as White House negotiators returned to Capitol Hill to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the next coronavirus aid package.
Democrats have proposed $3 trillion in relief through the HEROES Act and Republicans have a $1 trillion counteroffer called the HEALS Act. At stake are millions of Americans' jobless benefits, school reopenings and eviction protections.
Striking any agreement between Congress and President Donald Trump by Friday's deadline for expiring aid will be daunting.
Key to the debate is the $600 weekly unemployment benefit bump that is expiring for millions of jobless Americans. Republicans want to slash it to $200 a week as an incentive to push people back to work. Democrats have shown flickers of willingness to curb the federal aid, but are refusing to go that low.
Republicans defend cuts to unemployment assistance, saying the federal supplement is too generous, on top of state benefits, and people should not be paid more while they are at home than they would if they were on the job.
With the virus death toll climbing and 4.2 million infections nationwide, both parties are eager for a deal. There is widespread agreement that more money is needed for virus testing, to help schools prepare to open in the fall and to shore up small businesses.
The Trump administration also announced Tuesday it will deny new applications for so-called “Dreamer” immigrants and limit renewals to one year instead of two. Tuesday's announcement comes despite reversals in court that kept alive the Obama-era program to shield young people from deportation. The Supreme Court ruled last month that Trump failed to follow rule-making procedures when he tried to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program but kept a window open for him to try again. A federal judge in Maryland ruled earlier this month that DACA should be restored to original form before September 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.