House Committee on Natural Resources Ranking Member Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) led a Republican forum titled “How Joe Biden Stole Christmas: Addressing America’s Ongoing Supply Chain Crisis.”
“Every American has been affected by the supply chain crisis during this holiday season,” Westerman said during the forum. “Maybe you couldn’t find a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, or you got sticker shock at the gas pump, or you received the notification that the gift you ordered three weeks ago won’t get delivered until mid-February. Labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, and skyrocketing inflation have become regular dinnertime topics, yet what has President Biden done to solve this full-blown crisis? Little to nothing. That’s why we’re here today: to hear from Americans across the country on how they’ve been impacted by the global supply chain and learn how we can take decisive action to ensure this doesn’t happen again…America can and should produce more domestic energy, facilitate more mineral development, harvest more of our forests sustainably and provide for more water infrastructure to ensure that we are not dependent on nations that do not follow the rules or have inferior environmental standards. Whether President Biden is up to that challenge, however, remains doubtful.”
The panel of Republican members heard from 13 witnesses during the forum, representing districts across the country:
Andrew Arnold, partner, Reeds Family Outdoor Outfitters | Walker, Minn.
Ron Bjork, farmer | Eagle Point, Ore.
Darrell Conner, government affairs counselor, K&L Gates, on behalf of the Institute of International Container Lessors | Washington, D.C.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, adjunct professor, George Washington University, and former deputy assistant secretary for research and technology, U.S. Department of Transportation | Washington, D.C.
Randy Guillot, president, Triple G Express | New Orleans, La.
Jack Hedge, executive director, Utah Inland Port Authority | Salt Lake City, Utah
Ruel Joyner, owner and CEO, 24e Design Company | Savannah, Ga.
Mark Kaiser, district 11 director, American Farmers Federation | Baldwin County, Ala.
Paul Smith, Christmas tree farmer | Banner Elk, N.C.
Steve Martinez, principal, TradeWinds General Contracting, Inc. | Boise, Idaho
James Meeks, owner, Triple M Farms | Milo, Ark.
Marty Schuma, president, Dick Anderson Construction | Helena, Mont.
Chris Wright, CEO, Liberty Oilfield Services | Denver, Colo.
Witness testimony represented a broad spectrum of goods and services across the supply chain, including:
“As an Oregon farmer, my job has never been harder,” Bjork said. “The supply chain issues and compounding regulatory burdens are greatly impacting my operation and my community. We have to find real, meaningful solutions to our supply chain issues for Oregon businesses to remain viable.”
“Signing into law the American Rescue Plan, with additional checks mailed out, and expanded unemployment benefits, was as though Uncle Sam gave everyone coupons to eat at McDonalds but told employees not to show up for work,” Furchtgott-Roth said. “In such a case, it is easy to see that there would be lines and shortages since consumers have spending power while workers stay home.”
“A safe, plentiful and affordable food supply is critical to our national defense and way of life,” Kaiser said. “Farmers are here to meet this challenge, but if we can’t get seed, fertilizer, fuel, and other crop protection products to the farmer he or she cannot produce a crop. And for the first time in my career in farming, this is a real threat next year unless policies in Washington, D.C. are brought forward to get our supply chain back on track.”
“The domino affect this is having on our industry is costing the builder, subs, suppliers, and homeowners thousands of dollars that no one had planned on,” Martinez said. “We are having to sit down with clients and break this news to them that their dream home is delayed in some instances up to a year and is costing them tens of thousands of dollars. We have one client that these delays and costs to get alternative materials have cost the homeowner almost $200,000. This isn’t money that is going into upgrades or amenities, rather to build the exact same house they thought they were getting when we signed contract. This is killing affordability for homeowners and killing jobs across the country.”
“My son has been trying for several months to purchase a farm truck but none are available,” Meeks said. “A local mechanic ordered a radiator for one of our tractors and said it would be May before he could get it from that distributor. Fertilizer purchased this fall is close to 500/ton more than this time last year, the reason given to me is that manufactures can’t get the inputs delivered and oil prices are higher. All of this and the prices we receive for our products are not going up. We have to compete with the greenhouse industry and foreign producers that don’t have to be put to the same standards we have.”
“The supply chain problems that truly alarm me are not subject to market forces and are unlikely to be rectified in the coming months as they are politically driven,” Wright said. “A growing, and highly destructive, delusion about the energy system is driving up the cost to produce oil and gas in the U.S. in the mistaken belief that this is helpful in response to climate change. It is not.”