Representatives Malinowski, Kinzinger, and Blunt Rochester Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Bolster U.S. Manufacturing of Critical Goods, Strengthen American Supply Chains
(Washington, DC) Representative Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) introduced the bipartisan Building Resilient Supply Chains Act, legislation to strengthen U.S. supply chains and spur domestic manufacturing of critical goods to grow the U.S. economy and enhance America’s national security. He was joined by Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The bill creates a Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Office within the U.S. Department of Commerce and authorizes $45 billion for the Office to make grants and loans to support the expansion of domestic manufacturing of critical goods and services, industrial equipment, and manufacturing technology.
“We’ve learned many hard lessons during the pandemic – among them, we should never be dependent on strategic adversaries like China for the goods we need to keep America safe and secure,” said Representative Malinowski (D-NJ). “Whether it’s the PPE that protects us from disease, the chips that power our cars, computers, and cellphones, or the key materials used in electric vehicles and solar panels, we need to shore up our capacity to produce these things here at home – and that’s what this bill will enable us to do.”
“The United States is dealing with unprecedented supply chain challenges, and we must take action. Today, I’m pleased to join my colleagues Reps. Malinowski and Blunt Rochester in leading the Building Resilient Supply Chains Act, and I’m proud of the bipartisan work that has been done so far on this critical issue,” said Representative Kinzinger (R-IL). “While this marks the first major step in the legislative process, more work lies ahead as we consult with stakeholders and additional experts on how to fortify our supply chains and support our manufacturers. I stand ready to continue serving as a good-faith partner in these efforts and look forward to providing effective solutions to strengthen our national and economic security.”
“As the founder of the Bipartisan Future of Work Caucus, I’ve been focused on the challenges and lessons we can take away from the impact that COVID-19 has had on our economy,” said Representative Blunt Rochester (D-DE). “Chief among those lessons is having a more reliable and sustainable supply chain that rapidly responds to the needs of the American economy. The bipartisan Building Resilient Supply Chains Act will help expand American capacity to produce the key components for so many of the products we rely on every single day – and in the process, will make our economy more competitive, reliable, and sustainable.”
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan called for the creation of such an office at the Department of Commerce and for comparable levels of funding to enable America to produce “the technologies and goods that meet today’s challenges and seize tomorrow’s opportunities.” The Biden Administration subsequently released a report in June 2021, pursuant to Executive Order 14017 (“America’s Supply Chains”), which assessed supply chain vulnerabilities across a range of key products, including semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, and critical minerals. The report underscored the need for a dedicated office at the Department of Commerce and for robust funding to address vulnerabilities associated with these and other products.
U.S. economic and national security will depend in part on whether the federal government invests meaningfully in creating resilient supply chains to guard against unexpected shocks, whether they’re caused by market or economic forces, global conflicts, natural disasters, or public health crises. Disruptions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic have clarified the need to strengthen U.S. supply chains and reinvest in American manufacturing capacity to meet the immediate challenges of today and to lead in the future:
- PPE: At the height of the pandemic, demand spikes and supply shortages led to price increases of more than 1,000% for personal protective equipment. Throughout the United States, for months on end, frontline medical and healthcare workers were forced to ration masks, gloves, and gowns while waiting for foreign imports to arrive.
- Semiconductors: Semiconductor shortages have contributed to disruptions throughout the economy, including production cutbacks at U.S. automakers and increased prices for consumers looking to buy a new or used car. Semiconductors are key components in everyday consumer goods, including dishwashers, televisions, and refrigerators, and they play a significant role in major sectors of the U.S. economy, including agriculture, healthcare, and defense. The U.S. has fallen from 37 percent of global semiconductor production twenty years ago to just over 12 percent today.
- Clean energy: Looking ahead, the U.S. will only be able to compete with China in the clean energy technology market – a major economic and global leadership opportunity for the U.S. – if we make significant investments in domestic battery production for use in electric vehicles and polysilicon for use in solar equipment.
- Today, perhaps up to half of the world’s polysilicon – a raw material needed to build most solar panels – is produced in Xinjiang, where ethnic and religious minorities are arbitrarily detained and forced into industrial labor camps. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs added polysilicon produced in Xinjiang to the List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor. The transition from fossil fuels to clean energy should not rely on slave labor at the site of the world’s greatest human rights crisis.
The Building Resilient Supply Chains Act will make the U.S. safer at home and more competitive abroad for decades to come, while creating good-paying jobs in New Jersey and throughout the country.
Representative Malinowski is a member of the House Committees on Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Homeland Security.