Menendez, Torres Applaud the Inclusion of National Supply Chain Database in America COMPETES Act

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (D-Calif.-35) today applauded the inclusion of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation creating a National Manufacturing Extension Partnership Supply Chain Database as an amendment to the America COMPETES Act, passed today by the House of Representatives.

Last June, the Senate passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, its own version of the competition bill aiming to guarantee the United States has a competitive advantage in the 21st-century economy. Both the House and Senate will now move to conference their differing competition bills. The co-leads will work closely together to ensure the National MEP Supply Chain Database provision is included in the version of the competition bill that ultimately gets signed into law.

“This pandemic exposed deep vulnerabilities in our national supply chains that continue to impact our long-term economic recovery. I am glad that the House of Representatives has included and passed the National MEP Supply Chain Database Act that I led in the Senate as part of their competition bill,” said Sen. Menendez. “As both chambers move to conference our differing competition bills, I will work diligently with my colleagues to ensure this bicameral and bipartisan initiative ultimately gets signed into law so that the federal government has a critical tool that could give us reliable information about American manufacturers’ capabilities and inventories in order to prevent future disruptions in our national supply chains.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic proved just how vulnerable our supply chains are, and how those vulnerabilities can be a real threat in times of crisis. But we also learned how instrumental local businesses and small manufacturers can be to filling in the gaps and supporting our national supply chains,” said Rep. Torres“Our national economy is stronger when we prevent supply chain breakdowns before they occur, rather than try to fix them after they happen. This database will also help American manufacturers by connecting them with opportunities and in turn help create good-paying jobs for our communities. The Supply Chain Database is good for business, and I’m thankful it was included in the America COMPETES Act. I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation, and getting it signed into law.”  

Sen. Menendez and Rep. Torres, alongside Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Rep. Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.-03), initially introduced the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership Supply Chain Database in their respective chambers last December. The legislation was informed by a Department of Commerce report previously requested by the members. 

As demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a national overview of our manufacturing supply chain would help avoid future bottlenecks. During the early stages of the pandemic, states understood what was produced in their states, but were generally unaware of how dependent in-state manufacturing was on out-of-state resources. This legislation would help close this gap in available information about America’s manufacturing supply chains by leveraging the Hollings MEP program of the National Institute Standards and Technology (NIST) to create the National MEP Supply Chain Database consisting of manufacturers who have received assistance from the more than 450 service locations nationwide. The MEP program is a federal public-private partnership that provides small and medium-sized manufacturers technology-based services these firms need to grow and thrive in today’s economy and create well-paying manufacturing jobs.

The MEP National Network includes 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico supported by more than 1,400 advisors and experts at approximately 375 MEP service locations. According to clients surveyed in FY 2020, the MEP National Network helped manufacturers achieve $13.0 billion in sales, $2.7 billion in cost savings, $4.9 billion in new client investments and helped to create and retain 105,748 U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The National MEP Supply Chain Database Act is supported by the American Small Manufacturers Coalition.

“The National Supply Chain Database bill will allow manufacturers to better understand their supply chains to potentially mitigate the risks they are experiencing now due to the pandemic,” said Carrie Hines, President and CEO of the American Small Manufacturers Coalition. “We are exceptionally thankful for the leadership of Senators Menendez and Blackburn and Representatives Torres and Fleischmann for not only recognizing the need but also establishing the database within the one public/private program that can bring it to fruition – the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).”

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