On May 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act of 2023 by a vote of 390 to 19.  The bill, authored by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and Rep. Larry Bucshon M.D. (R-Ind.), is a bi-partisan effort and collaboration between the federal government and private entities to “map[], monitor[], and proactively strengthen[] American supply chains, bringing manufacturing jobs back home, and lowering costs for American consumers.”[1]

If enacted, the bill would require the Department of Commerce to create a Supply Chain Resiliency and Crisis Response Program within 180 days of passage.  This program will:

  1. Map, monitor and model critical supply chains[2];
  2. Identify high priority gaps and vulnerabilities in critical supply chains and industries;
  3. Identify potential shocks to critical supply chains that may disrupt or eliminate the supply chain;
  4. Evaluate the capability and capacity of domestic manufacturers or manufacturers located in ally countries;
  5. Evaluate the effect on the national security and economic competitiveness of the US, including on consumer prices, job losses, and wages, that may result from the disruption of a critical supply chain;
  6. Evaluate the state of the manufacturing workforce; and
  7. Identify investments in critical goods, production equipment, and manufacturing technology from non-Federal sources.

Additionally, under the bill, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Commerce is required to create a “unified coordination group” composed of “private sector partners and covered nongovernmental representatives” who will serve as a body to respond to “supply chain shocks” and “support the resilience, diversity, security and strength of critical supply chains.”  The Bill defines a “supply chain shock” as one of the following:

  1. A natural disaster.
  2. A pandemic.
  3. A biological threat.
  4. A cyber attack.
  5. A great power conflict.
  6. A terrorist or geopolitical attack.
  7. An event for which the President declares a major disaster or an emergency under section 401 or 501, of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
  8. Any other disruption or threat to a critical supply chain that affects the national security or economic security of the United States.

According to a press release from Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, the coordination group will “ensure that labor is at the table in advising on crucial supply chain resiliency policy.”[3]   Specifically, through the unified coordination group, the Assistant Secretary would:

  1. acquire on a voluntary basis technical, engineering, and operational critical supply chain information from the private sector;
  2. study the critical supply chain information acquired in the preceding subparagraph (A) to assess critical supply chains, including critical supply chains for emerging technologies, and inform planning for potential supply chain shocks;
  3. convene with relevant private sector entities to share best practices, planning, and capabilities to respond to potential supply chain shocks; and
  4. factor in any relevant findings from the studies required by the American COMPETE Act (title XV of division FF of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021; Public Law 116–260; 134 Stat. 3276).

Importantly, pursuant to the bill, the Department would be required to prepare a report every two years that:

  1. Identifies critical infrastructure and emerging technologies that may assist in carrying out the program;
  2. Describes the manufacturing base, critical supply chains, and emerging technologies in the United States, including the manufacturing and supply chains for critical goods, production equipment and manufacturing technology;
  3. Assesses the demand and production of critical goods, capability of domestic manufacturers, and how supply chain shocks could affect rural, tribal and underserved communities; and
  4. Identifies threats that may disrupt critical supply chains and goods.

In consultation with relevant “private sector personnel and entities”, the Department of Commerce will also disseminate a guide of best practices to:

  1. measure the resilience and strength of critical supply chains;
  2. quantify the value of improved resilience and strength of critical supply chains;
  3. design and implement measures to reduce the risks of disruption of critical supply chains; and
  4. support the authentication and traceability of critical goods using blockchain technology, distributed ledger technologies, and other emerging technologies as appropriate.

Notably, the emerging technologies referenced throughout the bill include technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum hybrid computing.  

After the bill was passed in the House of Representatives, the bill was introduced in the Senate on May 16th, and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the same day.  In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).  Senator Cantwell introduced her own version of the bill on May 21st, which was also referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.[4]  The Senate bill, S.4375, retains identical language as the House bill, but adds a section mandating the creation of an “early warning system” which will detect “potential supply chain shocks” by using “artificial intelligence or quantum hybrid computing.”[5] 

Alongside bi-partisan support, the bill is endorsed by several private sector entities and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  According to the prognosis methodology of govtrack.us, the bill has a 37% chance of being enacted.[6]  No other official dates have been set, and as of June 12th, the bill had yet to leave the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

[1] https://bluntrochester.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=4053.

[2] “Critical supply chain” means a supply chain for a critical good.  “Critical good” means any raw, in process, or manufactured material (including any mineral, metal, or advanced processed material), article, commodity, supply product, or item for which an absence of supply would have a significant effect on (A) the national security or economic security of the United States; and (B) either – (i) critical infrastructure; or (ii) an emerging technology. 

[3] https://bluntrochester.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=4053

[4] https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/senate-bill/4375?s=2&r=6.

[5] The text of S.4375 is not yet available on congress.gov, but is available on Senator Cantwell’s (D-WA) website:https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/88DC8767-BF06-4379-A156-AAAE1F4B334E

[6] https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/118/hr6571.