House GOP Urges Biden to Protect Supply Chain

Connectivity Becomes a Growing Concern Over International Threats
Maersk cargo ship
The Maersk Sentosa containership sails southbound to exit the Suez Canal in Suez, Egypt, on Dec. 21. Attacks by Houthi militants on cargo vessels have threatened the supply chain. (Stringer/Bloomberg News)

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Senior House Republicans on a transportation committee urged the Biden administration to prevent potential disruptions to the country’s supply chain.

During a Jan. 17 hearing with stakeholders, GOP leadership on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advocated for economic assurances across freight sectors amid international connectivity concerns. Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.) led his caucus’ call for the administration to continue to guarantee the safe arrival of goods at national ports of entry.

“The pandemic previously exposed vulnerabilities in our supply chain, and today’s global conflicts are presenting new and complex challenges we must address,” said Rouzer, chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee. “For example, the United States Navy is currently leading the international coalition to repel Houthi militant attacks that are threatening a critical global shipping route in the Red Sea. These threats have forced major carriers to opt for longer, more costly shipping routes, as they pause operations in the area.”

For emphasis, the chairman of the subcommittee added, “And closer to home, the migrant crisis at our southern border has led to repeated closures of rail border crossings. As a result, rail operations were suspended — halting the movement of critical goods between the United States and Mexico in order to process the influx of migrant crossings.”

David Rouzer


Senior Republicans on the committee focused their criticism of the administration on its implementation of 2021’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. At issue for the panel’s majority were myriad regulations they say stem from misinterpreted provisions approved in the 10-year infrastructure law.

“Over the last several years, there have been a number of regulatory proposals that have threatened to disrupt the nation’s supply chains, creating undue burdens on American businesses and causing mass delays in the shipment of goods,” said Rep. Tracey Mann (R-Kan.), who was among the lawmakers detailing a series of potential impacts to regional economies in the event of long-term supply chain disruptions.

Rep. Tracey Mann


“Of course,” Mann continued, “the pandemic highlighted fractures in our supply chains, and in my view, instead of focusing on the issues, the administration continues to focus on more regulations that would cause further bottlenecks, certainly for the nation’s supply chains.”

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.), responding to Republican-led concerns about IIJA’s implementation, argued, “Yes, we have implementation problems. No doubt about it. Those implementation problems are really the result of an enormous amount of federal investment that is available.”



For most Democrats on the panel, policy points associated with improving commercial transportation conditions are atop the administration’s priorities.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), the committee’s ranking member, highlighted connectivity improvement programs established by the IIJA. The ranking member stressed that more than $800 million is tucked in the $1.2 trillion bipartisan law. The funding is meant for training workers for in-demand jobs in manufacturing and semiconductors, among other supply chain sectors.

Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.)


“Keeping our transportation systems in good repair, resilient, and ready for future freight and passenger demand will require ongoing investment,” Larsen said during the hearing. “Reliable and robust investment in infrastructure is key to the long-term success and sustainability of our transportation systems and supply chain networks for decades to come.”

At the hearing, lawmakers also cited the contributions made by the freight workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the IIJA, the Biden administration has distributed billions of dollars for supply chain improvement operations at ports and across freight corridors.

On the international stage, U.S.-led air strikes have targeted the Iran-backed Houthi militants for several weeks. Since late last year, the Houthi have been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea. The group insists its attacks are a response to Israel’s military presence in Gaza.