Industry and Labor Perspectives: A Further Look at North American Supply Chain Challenges

2167 Rayburn House Office Building and online via videoconferencing

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0 Wednesday, November 17, 2021 @ 12:00 |
This is a hearing of the full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Official transcript

  • Mr. Mario Cordero, Executive Director, Port of Long Beach; on behalf of the American Association of Port Authorities | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Chris Spear, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Trucking Associations | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads | Written Testimony
  • Ms. Anne Reinke, President and Chief Executive Officer, Transportation Intermediaries Association | Written Testimony
  • Mr. David Correll, Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics | Written Testimony
  • Mr. Greg Regan, President, Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO | Written Testimony
  • Opening remarks, as prepared, of Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO):

    Thank you, Chair DeFazio, for holding this hearing, and thank you to our witnesses for being here today. 

    I am very interested to hear what the members of our panel have to say about the bottlenecks in our Nation’s supply chain, because it truly is a crisis.  Thanksgiving stands to be the most expensive ever, and if you’re not getting ahead of your holiday shopping now, you’ll likely find limited options the closer we get to Christmas.  The general public, quite frankly, is extremely concerned.

    Every person testifying today represents essential workers who are feeling the impacts of this crisis firsthand.  The companies and workers you represent kept our economy running during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we appreciate your work.

    The pandemic made us recognize that an efficient supply chain could benefit from increased redundancies and capacity. 

    There won’t be one simple solution to this complex problem.  There are many factors that contribute to the high cost of moving goods throughout our Nation’s supply chain.  But the policies the President, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Schumer are pursuing are not only missing the mark – they’re making matters even worse.

    The radical agenda they continue to pursue through budget reconciliation and administrative actions increase energy and transportation costs, discourage work, and drive up already skyrocketing inflation – and all of this is exacerbating the problem, not fixing it.

    For example, the President’s press conference on October 13th demonstrated both a lack of understanding of this complex issue, and the fact that his Administration has no real plan to solve it.  I was personally offended by his call for the private sector to “step up” while his Administration does little but compound the problem, specifically calling out “terminal operators, railways, trucking companies, shippers, and other retailers.”  Your companies and workers are not here to provide cover or bail out this Administration’s bad policies.  The 100 container ships sitting outside of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach won’t just magically go away.

    I also think we need to hear from those who aren’t here today.  Most notably, the users of the system, importers, exporters, retail, agriculture, and the Administration officials who oversee it, including the newly announced ‘infrastructure czar.’  

    Republican members have already heard from many groups and individuals who want to share their ideas about how to improve this situation.  In fact, two weeks ago, we convened a roundtable meeting to hear what issues stakeholders are facing.

    We look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses about their ideas, even if it’s highlighting how this Administration can simply “do no harm” – or in this case, “to do no more harm.” 

    Do no more harm to our supply chain by straining the workforce through the application of a vaccine mandate.

    Do no more harm to our supply chain by turning a blind eye to state and local regulations that are interfering with interstate commerce.

    Do no more harm to our supply chain by encouraging regulations that upend the independent contracting model that so many in our supply chain work through.

    Do no more harm by pushing environmental regulations that stop warehouses from being built, or goods moving by truck.

    Do no more harm to our supply chain by pushing policies that disincentivize work and vocational jobs.

    I look forward to hearing from the panelists today, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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