A group of 160 Republican lawmakers has sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to “reevaluate his priorities” and address the supply chain and ports crisis in the United States before considering additional social spending.
The letter was led and signed by Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and also signed by lawmakers including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, among others.
McCarthy shared the letter on Twitter on Oct. 21, writing, “Mr. President, it’s time for you to reevaluate your priorities. We must address our supply chain and ports crisis before Congress considers any additional social spending and taxation legislation.
“As House Republicans, we write because we refuse to stand by and watch as your administration dilutes America’s ability to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods, people, and services throughout our transportation network.
“House Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to work on bipartisan solutions to improve our infrastructure. We regret that our efforts have been spurned as Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, Majority Leader [Chuck] Schumer, and your Administration use infrastructure as a Trojan horse to push radical policies that make it more difficult and expensive for families to find or afford basic goods and for businesses to continue the long road to recovery from the pandemic.”
Industries across the United States are facing acute bottlenecks in supply chains, such as material and worker shortages as well as the skyrocketing prices of materials, driven by pandemic lockdown measures. These issues have also affected consumers, who are now faced with empty shelves and higher prices on top of rising inflation levels.
About 250,000 containers of goods are currently stacked up on the docks due to delayed pickups from chassis shortages and a lack of space in railyards and warehouses. This is causing dozens of ships to back up at anchor outside the ports, Reuters reported.
“We must address the global supply chain and ports crisis before Congress even considers additional social spending and taxation legislation. Our priority right now should be strengthening our nation’s economy and increasing our global competitiveness,” the letter reads.
The Biden administration has been focused heavily on pushing two major spending measures through Congress. A bipartisan infrastructure bill worth $1.2 trillion was approved by the Senate in August. That legislation is currently being held up in the House as some progressive Democrats have said it will only be approved if the Senate also approves the $3.5 trillion social and climate spending bill.
The letter goes on to accuse the Biden administration of further fueling the current crisis by raising energy costs and triggering inflation through “reckless unchecked spending” and “attacking American businesses.”
“Ironically it is now the private sector that you are calling on to ‘step up’ and fix the supply chain problems,” it reads.
Biden threatened on Oct. 13 to “call out” private companies who fail to assist his administration and step up to address global supply-chain bottlenecks.
“If the private sector doesn’t step up, we’re going to call them out and ask them to act,” he said in remarks at the White House.
“All of these goods won’t move by themselves. For the positive impact to be felt all across the country and by all of you at home, we need major retailers who ordered the goods and the freight movers who take the goods from the ships to factories and to stores to step up as well.”
The White House said it has received confirmation from UPS, FedEx, Walmart, Target, Samsung, and other companies, as well as the Port of Los Angeles, that they will increase the number of shifts to deal with a backlog of container ships, labor shortages, and warehousing issues.
“We urge you to call on your congressional allies to halt discussions on a budget reconciliation bill that aims to reshape the social fabric of this country and instead work on real infrastructure solutions that focus on moving goods and people safely and efficiently,” the letter reads.