Senators Introduce Supply Chain Bill

House Recently Passed Companion Legislation
Cantwell says the bill will help keep shelves stocked. (Chokii Ns/Getty Images)

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Legislation that would establish a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce was recently unveiled in the Senate.

The Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act, sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would create a program to “map, monitor and model U.S. supply chains in critical industries and emerging technologies,” according to background from the Commerce Committee.

“One supply chain shock can disrupt the entire system, driving shortages and raising costs,” Cantwell, the committee’s chairwoman, said May 21. “Our legislation will get the government, businesses and manufacturers working together to identify gaps and build capacity to prevent supply chain disruptions before they happen. It will strengthen American manufacturing jobs, keep our store shelves stocked and lower costs for American families.”

“To achieve a strong, resilient supply chain, we must have a coordinated, national strategy that decreases dependence on our adversaries, like Communist China, and leverages American ingenuity. By establishing a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce, the U.S. government can better coordinate with private sector partners, identify risks, and increase our competitiveness,” Blackburn observed, adding, “The Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act leverages both quantum computing and artificial intelligence to predict and mitigate supply chain shocks, ensuring that technology is at the forefront of our national supply chain strategy.”

Specifically, the Critical Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response program would “identify potential supply chain shocks to a critical supply chain that may disrupt, strain, compromise or eliminate the critical supply chain,” according to the bill. Additionally, the legislation would develop an early-warning disruption system at the department, as well as assemble a stakeholder group to develop critical supply chain resiliency policies. The bill’s committee consideration has yet to be scheduled.

The House of Representatives recently passed a companion version of the bill. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), the legislation’s sponsor, affirmed: “Encouraging American manufacturers to diversify their supply inputs so that they aren’t solely reliant on unpredictable and adversarial trading partners, like China, is good policy that will keep the American economy open for business no matter what is happening around the globe.”

“I am extremely proud that the House has passed the Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act unanimously today,” added Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.), a co-sponsor.

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Various stakeholders are endorsing the bill. John Drake, vice president for transportation, infrastructure and supply chain policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, indicated: “Ensuring the resilience of our supply chains is essential to maintaining America’s global leadership in innovation and manufacturing.”

“By creating the Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Office, this legislation will not only foster collaboration between government and industry, but also provide the resources necessary to build the robust infrastructure of the future, support high-quality American jobs, and bolster national security,” Drake went on.

“Collaboration among government, manufacturers and the electro-industry is critical to ensuring a reliable, resilient supply chain that achieves the shared infrastructure modernization goals of the bipartisan infrastructure law,” said Debra Phillips, president and CEO of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, noting 2021’s bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.