Will the United States Heed its ‘Wake-Up Call?’
A bipartisan duo of congressmen is calling for the creation of a congressional “commission on critical supply chains.” Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and David McKinley, R-W. Va., want steps taken to ensure the country isn’t caught by surprise again, as it was at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many Americans were shocked to find that the largest and most advanced economy on Earth was unable to find or produce enough face masks, ventilators, hand sanitizer, testing kits, hospital beds, sedatives and other medical necessities in response to the COVID-19 crisis,” they wrote in a guest blog for Business Insider. “But these supply chain limitations did not surprise those of us in Congress who have been sounding the alarm for many years about our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign countries.”
McKinley and Ryan warned that because U.S. manufacturers are highly dependent on foreign sources for many parts and raw materials, this might not be the last time the American economy is thrown into chaos by disruption in another part of the world. “Imagine if the U.S. could no longer obtain key life-saving medications, rare materials needed to make cell phones work, components for military aircraft or space satellites, precision equipment necessary for scientific study and breakthroughs, or equipment and technologies for power generation and storage,” they wrote.
The congressmen said the commission would be an independent entity whose expert panel would attempt to determine how to predict future supply chain disruptions, reduce future vulnerabilities and risks, and make the supply chain resilient enough to withstand future disruptions.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been a terrible tragedy for our country and the world,” they wrote. “Allowing our nation and the U.S. Congress to go back to business as usual would be a disservice to the American people. This is a wake-up call for the United States.”