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Lawmakers looking to address supply chain issues

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As lawmakers are seeking ways to fix supply chain issues, U.S. Representative Ron Kind says tackling them is top priority right now. Those supply chain issues include the Ocean Shipping Reform Act signed by President Biden just this last week.

Kind, the Wisconsin Democrat notes a few things about the supply chains including having nine companies dominate trans-pacific shipping, them naturally having a monopoly, and increasing the shipping rates of 1,000 percent in the last 12 months.

“But what’s most infuriating right now is they bring those loaded cargo ships over from China to our ports on the West Coast, and many times the shipping companies are sending those cargo containers back empty without U.S. goods and products on it. And we’re saying with this legislation that we passed, no more, that they’re going to have to load up those American exports. A lot of it is agriculture exports heading to China, if they’re going to be sending those ships back out west. So, it was long overdue. I’m glad we were able to meet with this bipartisan legislation, President Biden has been calling for this for some time.”

Kind says part of this supply chain conversation is reducing our dependence on other countries for specific goods. Another bill works on addressing microchip availability in the United States.

“Part of that is what President Biden has been talking about in-sourcing these jobs, in-sourcing these manufacturing facilities, so we’re more reliant on ourselves for what we need. We’re working on a bill called America Competes right now, which would make major investments in the microchip industry of the United States. We’re so dependent on foreign countries for our basic microchip and microprocessor supply, the world runs on that now, it’s the modern economy. And so, we’re trying to figure out ways to make sure the incentives are in place, we have that production capability in the United States.”

Kind mentions lawmakers are working on different ways to reduce the bottlenecks within the supply chain.

“We’ve reduced the port waiting time to unload ships on the eastern west coast by eight-fold within the last eight months, we’ve made tremendous progress there. But we’re still seeing supply disruptions that are reflected in the increased prices that we’re working through because of the global pandemic, and how that slows these lines down.”

You can track the progress of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act here.