Brown, Baldwin introduce legislation to address supply chain disruptions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 13, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As ongoing, pandemic related supply chain disruptions impact businesses and consumers, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, and nine other senators are introducing new legislation to help address the issue.

Brown’s office said the Supply Chain Resiliency Act will alleviate current supply chain bottlenecks and prevent future disruptions by investing in American companies to reduce our reliance on long supply chains and ensure that critical products are made in America.

“We know how frustrating and costly these delays are for Ohio families and Ohio businesses, and it’s why we need to restore and strengthen our supply chains here in the U.S.,” Brown said. “There’s no reason we should have to rely on China and countries around the world for parts like semiconductors or PPE when we have the workers and the expertise here in America.”

Supply chain disruptions have had far-reaching impacts in Ohio, from bottlenecks in the trucking industry to long delays in new home construction. While demand has remained strong over the last year, production has been hindered by insufficient materials across many industries.

Shortages in microchips is a barrier to increased vehicle production, and paint producers have cited a drop in sales due to a lack of raw materials. Recent surveys by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland have shown that uncertainty about the future has made companies hesitant to invest in additional capacity.

Brown’s office said the Supply Chain Resiliency Act creates an Office of Supply Chain Resiliency at the Commerce Department, charged with monitoring, researching and addressing vulnerable supply chains. The office will provide loans, loan guarantees and grants to small and medium manufacturers, to allow them to address supply chain bottlenecks by expanding production. For example, a manufacturer that is unable to meet the increased demand for its products can get a low-interest loan from the Office of Supply Chain Resiliency to expand production.

In order to ensure adequate labor supply, safe working conditions and labor-management cooperation, the legislation includes strong labor protections as a condition of expansion support, Brown’s office said. Through committed long-term low-cost financial support, the Office of Supply Chain Resiliency will provide incentives for manufacturers seeking to expand production in the United States and the companies that get their goods to market.