WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Supply Chain Database Act unanimously passed the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. This legislation, introduced by U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), alongside U.S. Representatives Norma Torres (D-Calif.) and Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), would establish a national database with information about the interconnectivity of manufacturers in the United States supply chain. The database would help prevent future supply chain disruptions by offering manufacturers key information as they make decisions on how to retool in critical areas to meet the demand for key products, such as defense supplies, food, and medical devices.
“From baby formula to electronic chips, the supply chain crisis has made accessing important products more difficult for Tennesseans,” said Blackburn. “This bipartisan legislation will help get our economy back on track by improving transparency for manufacturers and businesses.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic exposed deep vulnerabilities in our country's national supply chains that continues to affect our long-term economic recovery," said Menendez. "That's why I am pleased that the Senate Commerce Committee has passed the National MEP Supply Chain Database Act out of committee, and appreciate Sen. Blackburn's partnership in moving this bill forward. I look forward to continue working with her and our partners in the House to ensure this bicameral and bipartisan initiative is passed and signed into law. This legislation will ensure that we have a better understanding of American manufacturers' capabilities and inventories in order to prevent future disruptions in our national supply chains."
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 and connect MEP centers through this national database. 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 U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, and the American Small Manufacturers Coalition.
A copy of the bill text can be found here.