The Lead

Pa. Rep. Wild sets sights on addressing U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities

By: - December 2, 2021 12:16 pm

PLAINVIEW, NY – APRIL 24: Shelves reserved for Perdue chicken lie empty at a ShopRite supermarket on April 24, 2020 in Plainview, New York. Grocery stores continue to experience supply chain slowdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic as they struggle to keep up with customer demand. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation is calling on Congressional leadership to focus the legislative body on ongoing supply chain issues in the United States. 

Rep. Susan Wild, D-7th District, along with 24 other Democratic representatives, plan to send a letter to Congressional leaders Thursday, “calling for additional legislative action on [sic] to ease supply chain bottlenecks and help lower costs for their constituents.”

“We are pleased that the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law by President Biden and encouraged by the continued work on the Build Back Better Act … but Congress must do more,” the letter reads. 

In Pennsylvania, supply chain disruptions have led to a limit on the purchase of certain alcoholic beverages at state-run liquor stores as well as limits on products at grocery stores and retailers.

Two is the limit as Pa.’s state-run liquor stores tackle supply chain disruptions, shortages

In October, Wild, whose district spans the Lehigh Valley, was joined by lawmakers from Iowa and Michigan in introducing the bipartisan Supply Chain Security and Resilience Act, a bill that would allow the federal government to monitor “vulnerabilities” in the manufacturing supply chain, recommend best practices, and establish the Supply Chain Resilience and Crisis Response Office within the Department of Commerce.  

“The pandemic has made evident the vital national importance of secure supply chains that empower small businesses and consumers alike,” Wild said at the time. “It is long past time that the U.S. government appoint someone to make strategic recommendations to help secure our supply chains and ensure that the shortages and slow downs of the last two years are never possible again.”

The full text of the letter is below: 

Speaker Pelosi and Leader Hoyer,

We are concerned about the ongoing disruptions to our nation’s supply chain, which are causing delays and increasing inflation for our constituents. We are pleased that the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been signed into law by President Biden and encouraged by the continued work on the Build Back Better Act. These are key steps in addressing these supply chain problems and lowering costs for people, but Congress must do more. We urge additional action by the House of Representatives to further address the disruptions and higher costs our constituents are experiencing.

The COVID-19 pandemic put unprecedented strain on our already crumbling infrastructure and changed consumer habits leading to severe transportation bottlenecks and backlogs at our nation’s ports and rail yards. Online shopping, for example, increased 34% from 2019 to 2020, and that trend has continued this year. Decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure have diminished capacity and resiliency in our supply chain. Without investments, modernization, and reform, our transportation system will struggle to deal with the increased volume of goods moving through our ports. The lack of domestic capacity, industry consolidation, and the United States’ longstanding trade imbalance has further exacerbated the effects of the pandemic. These issues have spiked shipping costs, with the cost of shipping a container between China and North America up 500% from pre-pandemic, created shortages and delays in numerous industries, significantly contributed to inflation, and have caused uncertainty for America consumers and exporters across our country. These costs of underinvestment are currently being felt by our constituents, and this Congress must take this issue seriously and act. While these price increases should slow and return to normal as these bottlenecks clear and the pandemic subsides, we must speed that process up while establishing supply chain structure for our future.

While the bipartisan infrastructure deal is a historic and long overdue investment in our infrastructure and, along with the Build Back Better Act, will expand capacity and ease inflation concerns, many of our House colleagues have proposed additional legislation to address specific issues affecting our ports, trucking, ocean shipping, and domestic manufacturing. These bills will provide additional relief and investment in targeted areas, ensuring we recover from these disruptions as quickly as possible and have the capacity to grow our economy. Additionally, increased investments in domestic manufacturing will support good paying jobs here in the United States and further reduce international supply chain pressures.

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. We respectfully ask that the House swiftly considers the numerous bills written by our House colleagues that will support domestic manufacturing, agricultural exports, and provide additional solutions to our supply chain crisis.

Thank you for your attention to this letter, and we stand ready to continue to work with you on this critical issue.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.