Aug 1, 2023, 3:14pm EDT

Effort to prevent future supply chain crises needs to speed up, lawmakers say


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Democratic lawmakers are urging the Biden administration to move faster on a major project aimed at preventing future supply chain crunches.

In a letter first shared with Semafor, Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., express concern that the Commerce Department isn’t moving quickly enough to set up a national database for manufacturers so they can retool production of critical goods during a national emergency.

“It is necessary to have a centralized national database that will enhance the ability of manufacturers to ensure that the United States is able to respond quickly and effectively during national disasters and periods of economic uncertainty,” the letter from Torres and Menendez says.

The database was included as part of the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which is approaching its one-year anniversary. As envisioned, companies would voluntarily submit information about their products and capabilities, making it easier for manufacturers to avoid the kinds of bottlenecks that plagued the federal government’s early pandemic response and led to shortages of items like masks.

In a statement to Semafor, Torres said that Commerce “should follow my bill’s direction to streamline our supply chain and enable manufacturers to thrive and create good paying-jobs here in America.”

The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.