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GM CEO Mary Barra and Ventec Life Systems CEO Chris Kiple talk with employees at an Indiana electronics plant that has shifted to producing ventilators for the federal government.

General Motors on Tuesday began mass production of critical care ventilators that will be delivered to the federal government to replenish depleted U.S. stockpiles in the fight against the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The automaker has a $489.4 million contract to produce 30,000 ventilators by August under the Defense Production Act, which President Trump invoked on March 27 in an effort to meet exploding demand for the life-saving devices.

Details: GM and its partner, Ventec Life Systems, said they will ship more than 600 ventilators this month, and almost 15,000 by the end of June. All 30,000 will be delivered by the end of August, but GM said it has the capacity to build more ventilators after August if needed.

“Thousands of men and women at GM, Ventec, our suppliers and the Kokomo community have rallied to support their neighbors and the medical professionals on the front lines of this pandemic. Everyone wants to help turn the tide and save lives. It is inspiring and humbling to see the passion and commitment people have put into this work.”
— GM CEO Mary Barra

The big picture: The Trump administration has said it is working with about 10 ventilator companies to obtain about 100,000 of the machines over the next 100 days.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The first hearings for President-elect Joe Biden's Cabinet nominations begin on Tuesday, with testimony from his picks to lead the departments of State, Homeland and Defense.

Why it matters: It's been a slow start for a process that usually takes place days or weeks earlier for incoming presidents. The first slate of nominees will appear on Tuesday before a Republican-controlled Senate, but that will change once the new Democratic senators-elect from Georgia are sworn in.