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Coons, Rubio join bicameral bill to reinforce US supply chain against threats

Delaware News Desk

Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Marco Rubio, R-Florida, joined Reps. Haley Stevens, D-Michigan, and Troy Balderson, R-Ohio, in introducing on July 29 the Resilient Manufacturing Task Force Act of 2020, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to help build a stronger, more resilient post-COVID economy.

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire, and John Cornyn, R-Texas.

The legislation establishes a task force to identify critical vulnerabilities in existing U.S. supply American experts from across the private sector, which will train for supply chain and other manufacturing emergencies.

“One of the things COVID-19 has revealed about our economy is that we are vitally reliant on countries like China for critical supplies — whether it’s medical devices like ventilators or pharmaceuticals,” said Coons. “We have a responsibility to address these vulnerabilities now and build an economy that is better prepared to withstand future threats. This bipartisan, bicameral bill is an important step toward ensuring American manufacturing is resilient and can build back stronger after this recession.”

Both the task force and the planned National Manufacturing Guard will leverage the expertise of existing resources like the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers and the Manufacturing USA Institutes — many of which, like the Delaware-based National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals, have already sprung into action to address the COVID-19 crisis. While the bill emphasizes vulnerabilities highlighted by COVID-19, the task force will aim to build resilience against a wide range of circumstances, including pandemics, natural disasters and global trade disruptions.

In a recent letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Coons and his colleagues warned, “If we fail to learn from the current crisis, we remain vulnerable to the next one. Around the world, the countries that best weathered COVID-19 have been those who faced similar threats in the past — SARS, MERS, H1N1 — and learned from the experience. [The Resilient Manufacturing Task Force] is an essential first step toward inoculating the nation’s industrial pillars against the dangers of participation in the modern global economy.”

The text of the bill is available at bit.ly/2CTK5Rv.