This week, Representative Sharice Davids continued pushing for action on supply chains, voting to pass legislation to strengthen the overseas supply chain and bolster exports from American businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has roiled supply chains around the world, creating bottlenecks that have added costs and delays for small businesses and consumers. In the global shipping industry, all major ocean carriers are foreign-based and have not played fair with American exporters and importers during this crisis: 30 years ago, the largest foreign-flagged ocean carriers controlled around 15% of traffic. Today, they control 75%. As a result, American businesses have found it difficult to get their goods to market for a fair and reasonable cost, leading to shortages and higher prices.
"The "global supply chain' we're talking about may sound abstract, but I've heard directly from small business owners and Kansas families who are being hurt by delays and rising shipping costs. We need solutions that will bring costs down and ensure folks can get the supplies they need," said Davids. "That's why I voted to pass bipartisan legislation this week to help iron out bottlenecks in the overseas shipping industry--the first major update to the industry since 1998. By combatting unfair practices by foreign-based companies--which are increasingly Chinese-state backed firms--we'll ensure that American goods are getting where they need to go at a reasonable price."
H.R. 4996, The Ocean Shipping Reform Act, is the latest legislative action Davids has supported to address these supply chain snags and reduce dependence on goods and services produced outside of the United States. This bipartisan bill, which represents the first major modernization of the global ocean shipping industry since 1998, will:
ensure fairness in ocean shipping by prohibiting ocean carriers from unreasonably refusing to transport American cargo;
strengthen the overseas supply chain by combating unfair and disruptive business practices by shipping companies; and
bolster the Federal Maritime Commission so that it has the resources to hold wealthy shipping companies accountable.
Davids has worked tirelessly to secure our domestic supply chain, lower costs for consumers, and ensure that small businesses continue to serve as the heart of our community. After hearing the story of a local manufacturer in Lenexa, Davids introduced the SUPPLIES Act to promote manufacturing of personal protective and medical equipment at small and medium manufacturers here at home. She joined Washington Post Live yesterday to discuss that legislation, noting that "the supply chain issues that we're having have, in some ways, demonstrated that we have small- and medium-sized manufacturers right here at home who can make some of the goods that are sitting in ports. And particularly in our medical and personal protective equipment, the testing supplies. And I'm not just saying that because we happen to have a number of small- and medium-sized manufacturers in the Kansas Third."
In a House Small Business Committee hearing in October, she highlighted the impact of global supply chain challenges on small businesses, particularly in the Kansas City region, saying: "Today, our small businesses are still faced with extremely high shipping costs and delays that are setting them back. And frankly, we heard this earlier too, this has been an issue since even before the pandemic. It demonstrates that we've been dependent on a pretty precarious supply chains for far too long." Additionally, she has been a vocal advocate for bringing critical semiconductor supply chains home.