March 5 2021

Thought of the Week:

Not every Executive Order (EO) aims to cancel Trump: On February 24, following a meeting on the subject with a bipartisan group of legislators, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains.” The EO states that the U.S. needs supply chains that are resilient, secure, and diverse to meet an array of possible threats, and “therefore, it is the policy of my Administration to strengthen the resilience of America’s supply chains.” This is hardly a controversial goal; there has long been concern over American supply chains, traditionally a focus of the Defense Department and its actions to secure the defense industrial base, which it reports on annually. As Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Hyten explained to reporters the previous day, “the supply chain is weak, and we have to take a hard look at that, because…we cannot stay ahead of the threats that will continue to morph….We just do not have a robust resilient supply chain right now. We have to take a hard look at that.” The rise of China’s control over important minerals, mainly rare earths, and certain manufactured products and technologies has raised the issue to prominence beyond the military; the concern was only exacerbated by the pandemic when the U.S. ran into vulnerabilities with its supply chain for medical-related products. Politically, the bipartisan desire to re-shore manufacturing and jobs has meshed nicely with these concerns.

Cool Graphic:

Thought Leadership—from our Associations, Think Tanks, and Consultants:

Global Policy Group/Looking beyond the stimulus bill: While Congress debates a $1.9-trillion coronavirus-relief bill, lawmakers and the Biden administration will consider several other major fiscal policy matters this year. Congress could take up a second reconciliation bill, legislation to implement the president’s “Build Better Back” plan, tax and carbon-pricing proposals, and legislation to raise the debt ceiling. 

Capital Alpha/Digital immunity passports face rocky rollout and equity issues, but are likely inevitable: With all the excitement over President Biden’s announcement that the U.S. will have enough  supply by the end of May to vaccinate all willing adults, look for increased policy and industry focus on digital vaccine passports. And like the administration of the vaccines themselves, there are numerous disparity issues that could muddy the passport rollout. 

In Other Words (Quote): 

“The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking,” President Biden criticizing states such as Texas and Mississippi for lifting Covid-19 restrictions. 

On the Lookout (what’s coming up in Washington): 

  • Senate reconciliation action expected on the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.
  • HR1, the Election Reform Bill, passes the House, moves to the Senate. 
  • Senate Finance Committee confirms Katherine Tai as USTR, nomination moves to Senate floor. 
  • Deb Haaland, President Biden’s pick for Interior, set to become first Native American cabinet member. 
  • House T & I Subcommittee to hold hearing titled, “Full Steam Ahead for Rail: Why Rail is More Relevant than Ever for Economic and Environmental Progress.”

Did You Know: 

Former President Trump has told allies he is strongly considering another run for president in 2024—and close advisers want him to choose someone other than former Vice President Pence for the ticket; among the running mates being discussed are Governor Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).

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