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Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester hosts a supply chain roundtable

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis Grant Harris joined leaders in Delaware’s life science sector to discuss supply chain resiliency.

Those business leaders shared their experiences dealing with gaps in the supply chain, including how it impacted their manufacturing capabilities and workforce.

Tim Langlois is with the product development and manufacturing company Advanced Materials Technology (AMT).

“So we're a small manufacturer of HPLC columns, and that doesn't mean much to most people but what that's used for is critically important to manufacture pharmaceuticals, and run diagnostics for people,” he explained.

Langlois notes losing access to the stainless steel tubes they need due to supply chain issues can greatly affect pharmaceutical manufacturing.

“I think one of the things that we recognized, and I think the pandemic highlighted it, is that we haven’t had a real whole of government focused on our supply chains. We also need to mark and monitor what those shocks and disruptions are to be able to predict for the future,” said Blunt Rochester.

Blunt Rochester hopes to address tracking supply chain disruptions in her new legislation, the Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act.

That would create a program that expands mapping and monitoring, seeks ways to address shocks to the supply chain before they happen, and increases engagement with the key allies.

Blunt Rochester and Harris also highlighted the Department of Commerce’s new Supply Chain Center, which also works to proactively aid the U.S. supply chain.

“We're looking to leverage our industry expertise and our analytical insights to be able to have a more proactive and strategic approach in understanding what supply chains need to be strengthened and what steps can be targeted to do so. Our idea is that this is key to jobs, it's key to economic growth, and it's key to national security,” said Harris.

Blunt Rochester’s Promoting Resilient Supply Chains Act (H.R. 6571) passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously in December. It is now eligible for consideration on the full House floor.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.