By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — As officials continue to work to clear supply chain backlogs at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, several members of Congress are calling on leaders in Washington, D.C., to take further action to address supply chain disruptions ahead of the holiday season.
U.S. Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif., sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer last week alongside 22 other representatives from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Minnesota, Arizona, New York, Hawaii, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois and New Jersey.
In the letter, the representatives called on House leadership to consider additional legislation that aims to specifically address issues impacting ports, trucking, ocean shipping and manufacturing.
“As our constituents gather for the holiday season, it is imperative Congress acts to address the needs of the nation through additional action to specifically address the supply chain and resulting higher prices experienced by families across the country,” the letter sent Dec. 2 said. “We respectfully ask that the House swiftly considers the numerous bills written by our House colleagues that will support domestic manufacturing, agricultural exports and provide additional solutions to our supply chain crisis.”
The request comes on the heels of the passage of two recent bills — the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Build Back Better Act. In the letter, representatives said these bills are “key steps” in addressing supply chain backlogs and easing inflation but said, “Congress must do more.”
Rep. Harder, who represents constituents in California’s Central Valley, said solving supply chain problems is key to making his region more affordable for families.
“Making the Valley an affordable place to live and raise a family could not be more important right now,” Rep. Harder said in a statement last week. “With just three weeks to Christmas, we have to do more to get the supply chain under control, so these outrageous prices come back down to Earth.
“Every kid deserves to wake up with presents under the tree and every family deserves to fill up their tank without breaking the bank. Fixing our supply chain ASAP is a huge step toward making that happen.”
Though bottlenecks at the ports remain, officials from the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach have cited improvement in clearing backlogs in recent weeks. The ports, which move about 40% of the nation’s containerized cargo imports, have seen a combined decline of 37% in aging cargo at the docks as of Monday, according to a news release.
This reduction prompted officials this week to once again delay implementing a “Container Dwell Fee,” which would issue fines to ocean carriers for shipping containers that dwelled too long at the port. The fines were initially set to go into effect Nov. 15 but have been continually pushed due to improvements in clearing backlogs.
On Tuesday, 66 ships were at anchor for both ports, 35 of which are container ships, according to an operations report. This marks a significant improvement from Nov. 15, when 105 ships were anchored or drifting in the San Pedro Bay, 82 of which were container ships.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.