Supply Chain Fixes Pushed by House Democrats Facing Tough Races

  • More than 20 Democrats send letter to Pelosi urging action
  • Members cite bottlenecks as constituents gather for holidays

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More than 20 House Democrats, including several facing tough re-elections, are asking Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to allow votes on legislation to ease supply chain bottlenecks that have led to shortages, shipping delays and rising inflation and have contributed to a decline in President Joe Biden’s approval ratings.

“As our constituents gather for the holiday season, it is imperative Congress acts to address the needs of the nation through additional action to specifically address the supply chain and resulting higher prices experienced by families across the country,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

The members didn’t ask for specific bills to be brought to the floor, but several signatories, including Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Susan Wild (D-Pa.), have introduced multiple bills addressing bottlenecks at ports as well as trucking and domestic manufacturing problems.

Getty Images
The Port of San Pedro in Los Angeles with shipping containers stuck at harbor. Congestion at the Port of Los Angeles has been getting worse for months and shows no signs of letting up before the holidays.

The bipartisan infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58) and the House-passed social spending, climate and tax plan now being negotiated in the Senate include elements that could expand the labor force, ease transit routes and boost manufacturing capacity. This includes $5 billion for supply chain backups in the House-passed tax and spending bill. But the Democratic lawmakers said bills tailored to specific supply chain issues are needed.

“Congress must do more,” the lawmakers wrote. “We urge additional action by the House of Representatives to further address the disruptions and higher costs our constituents are experiencing.”

Biden has increased his attention on supply chain backups in recent weeks, visiting the Port of Los Angeles to tout increased hours of operation and meeting with executives from Walmart Inc., Food Lion and other companies impacted by shipping delays and higher food and gas prices.

Lawmakers who signed the letter have introduced multiple bills, including measures that would:

  • Update federal regulations on the shipping industry in an effort to boost U.S. competitiveness (H.R. 4996), sponsored by Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.).
  • Create a Commerce Department office focused on responding to crises in supply and demand (H.R. 5479), from Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.).
  • Direct the federal government to establish a set of best practices for manufacturers to improve their security and resilience during unexpected situations (H.R. 5505) from Rep. Wild.

The House and Senate are planning to negotiate their differences on a bill to bolster U.S. competitiveness with China (S. 1260), which includes $52 billion for semi-conductor manufacturing, an industry hit hard by global supply chain backups. Pelosi plans to meet Thursday with the chairs of the committees handling the bill, according to a senior Democratic aide.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emily Wilkins in Washington at ewilkins@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bennett Roth at broth@bgov.com; Michaela Ross at mross@bgov.com

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