WATCH: Senator Reverend Warnock Presses Commerce Secretary Raimondo on Importance of Competition Bill for Georgians

Today, Senator Reverend Warnock questioned U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo at a Commerce Committee hearing about how the competition bill will help ease supply chain issues for Georgia families and how quickly the legislation will provide relief from rising costs

Earlier this month, Senator Reverend Warnock announced he will represent Georgia in an appointed committee to negotiate the final text of the jobs and competition bill

Senator Reverend Warnock: “Everywhere I go in Georgia, I’m hearing from families who are struggling because of shortages and breakdowns in our supply chains”

Secretary Raimondo: “I would suggest, Senator, that the single most important thing you or any senator can do to ease the inflationary pressures and supply chain problems in your state is to quickly pass USCIA or the bipartisan innovation law”

ICYMI: Tapped to Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Negotiations on Competition Bill, Senator Reverend Warnock Outlines Key Georgia Priorities to Create Jobs, Strengthen Innovation, Boost U.S. Manufacturing and Ease Supply Chain Tensions


Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, pressed U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo about the importance of Congress passing a strong jobs and competition bill, formerly known in the Senate as the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, to create local jobs, prepare Georgia’s workforce for the future, and keep the state’s technological and innovation economy strong. During the hearing, Senator Warnock questioned Secretary Raimondo specifically about how her agency is working to ease supply chain issues for Georgia families, and when families can expect to feel relief. Later this week, the Senate will vote to appoint Senator Warnock and other select lawmakers to lead bipartisan, bicameral negotiations on the competition bill, where the Senator will fight to secure key Georgia priorities in the final text of the legislation. 

The transcript of the question is below and the video is available here.

Senator Warnock: Thank you so very much, Madam Chair. And great to see you again, Secretary Raimondo. Everywhere I go in Georgia, I’m hearing from families who are struggling because of shortages and breakdowns in our supply chains. I recently visited Newnan, Georgia, a town that is suffering a year later from the devastation of a tornado. Families there have been struggling to rebuild their lives and as they tried to get their lives going, again, one of the biggest problems that they have is windows. Folks simply can’t get windows delivered quickly enough so that they can get back in their homes a year after the tornado. This year, the Department of Commerce has requested over $15 million to analyze global supply chains and I think it’s important to collect this data. But we’re now years into this crisis and Georgia families need more than data. Obviously, they need help. Secretary Raimondo, what is the value of having this new information? And how will it inform your specific actions to address supply chain issues?

Secretary Raimondo: Thank you, Senator. And those are heartbreaking stories, and we hear them all over the country. I don’t think anyone predicted how much havoc COVID could wreak on our supply chains. And if we’ve learned one thing these past couple of years, it’s that the federal government is woefully under researched and under focused on supply chains and shoring up our resiliency. So what we are doing, and I’ll follow up with you specifically on the windows to see what we can do, because, by the way, what I’ve learned is, you have to go deep into each sector. And so I’ll follow up to help you with that. But in any event, you know, what we need to do is have a continuous, constant monitoring and mapping of these supply chains, we need to provide financing. You know, we’ve lost 25% of our small and medium sized manufacturers in the past 25 years. Our small and medium sized manufacturing industrial base has been decimated. Germany, Japan, other countries, they invest, they make small loans available to small manufacturers, so they can provide these goods to our people. So that’s what the Department of Commerce ought to be doing and that’s why we’re requesting this money, not so that we can just fight the fires associated with supply chain disruptions from Russia or COVID, but so that we can prevent these disasters in the future.

Senator Warnock: Right. And if Congress appropriates this funding, what supply chain improvements will Georgia family see when they’re at the grocery store? Or the hardware store buying school supplies? When will they actually start seeing these changes?

Secretary Raimondo: Look, I hope that people are starting to feel it a little bit every week, every month, every year. As I said earlier, I currently have 40 work streams going on supply chains. This stuff, I wish I could flip a switch, you can’t. You know, congestion at the ports is down, better pricing in lumber, we’re seeing it. We’re just gonna have to stay at it with the vigilance and sense of urgency every day, product by product.

Senator Warnock: And beyond the budget process, we also have an opportunity to strengthen supply chains through the bipartisan competition bill. I look forward to that work happening here in the Senate. I’m a proud member of the conference committee representing the concerns of Georgians. I’m glad that we agree that one of the top priorities should be to shore up the semiconductor supply chain through funding incentives to bring chips manufacturing to the United States. It’s been almost a year since we considered this funding in this committee, will you be ready to distribute the funding as soon as it’s available?

Secretary Raimondo: Yes, absolutely. I mean, obviously, we have to go through the process and the statutory requirements, but we are already laying the groundwork. I would suggest, Senator, that the single most important thing you or any senator can do to ease the inflationary pressures and supply chain problems in your state is to quickly pass USCIA or the bipartisan innovation law. That calls for work on chips, which are in every piece of electronics, it calls for an establishment of a supply chain office. We will never be able to fundamentally solve these problems for your constituents until that law is passed and the federal government is implementing it.

Senator Warnock: I certainly agree there that that we need to get this law passed as soon as possible so we can provide real relief to the supply chain crisis and impact ordinary folks. And I look forward to fighting to make that happen as soon as possible. Thank you so much.