House Lawmakers Unveil Supply Chain Bill

Measure Would Pave the Way for Policies Meant to Enhance Resilience Along Supply Chains and Prioritize Security
Ships at Port of Seattle
Containerships unload at the Port of Seattle. The Strategic Homeland Investment in Economic and Logistical Defense (SHIELD) Act would establish an Office of Economic and Security Preparedness and Resilience. (David Ryder/Bloomberg News)

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Legislation designed to strengthen operations along domestic supply chains was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sponsored by Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the Strategic Homeland Investment in Economic and Logistical Defense (SHIELD) Act would establish an Office of Economic and Security Preparedness and Resilience.

According to the bill, the new office would “determine requirements, set priorities and coordinate efforts among federal agencies and industry to continuously map, monitor and analyze supply chains that are critical to the national security of the United States.”

“As the COVID-19 pandemic made horribly clear, America’s reliance on China for making basic things like medicine and critical minerals is a huge liability. Our bill would shine a light on where other such vulnerabilities exist and help revitalize our industrial base to fix them,” Banks said Sept. 26.

Jim Banks and Rosa DeLauro

Banks and DeLauro 

“Our overdependence on foreign manufacturing has hampered our ability to quickly respond to supply chain challenges and meet the needs of America and its citizens. There is no reason we should depend on foreign adversaries for essential goods: from technology, to critical minerals, to ingredients for our lifesaving drugs,” DeLauro added. “The SHIELD Act is needed legislation that will safeguard our supply chains from China and the [Chinese Communist Party] and provide the United States with the tools needed to help chart a path to out-compete China.”

Specifically, the measure would pave the way for policies meant to enhance resilience along supply chains as well as prioritize security for domestic production sectors. Such measures are meant to assist in minimizing China’s role in domestic supply chain operations. Various stakeholders are endorsing the bill.

“Recent supply chain disruptions have made clear that the United States must act to shore up critical manufacturing supply chains and reduce our reliance on China to safeguard our security. We should no longer question whether China will weaponize its supply chains and our reliance upon them to its advantage,” Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said in a statement accompanying the bill’s introduction. “The CCP has already demonstrated an ability and willingness to do just that. The creation of this office to set supply chain priorities and boost domestic production in key sectors is an important step to further strengthen American manufacturing.”

Relatedly, legislation backed by House Republicans aims to establish a supply chain resiliency program within the Department of Commerce. Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), the legislation would “encourage the development and competitiveness of U.S. productive capacities and manufacturing in the U.S.,” according to background from the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), also have proposed similar legislation. Their Supply CHAINS Act would establish standards for companies to identify and address supply chain vulnerabilities. Pallone explained last month: “The supply chain crisis may no longer be front page news, but serious supply chain vulnerabilities persist. The Biden administration’s 100-day supply chain review found that manufacturing supply chains instrumental to our national security and economic welfare remain vulnerable to disruption, strain, compromise and elimination. These vulnerabilities are industrywide and affect every American.”

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