GOP Governors Group Creates Initiative to Take on Supply Chain Crisis Shipping containers are stacked at PortMiami after being offloaded from a boat on Nov. 4, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Monday, 22 November 2021 07:04 PM
Fifteen governors from across the nation, including Georgia, Tennessee, Idaho, Florida, Arizona, Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, and North Dakota, among others, said in a letter Monday that they are taking measures to ease the current supply chain crisis, and are calling on President Joe Biden to ease federal regulations to get inventory moving more swiftly.
“As we approach the holiday season, our states are committed to ensuring the free and fast flow of commerce. Americans enjoy a high quality of life, and as government officials, our job is to not only maintain the standard of living for our citizens but to improve it,” Monday’s letter said. “Getting goods to market is a fundamental baseline of our open economy, and under the Biden Administration, the American supply chain is in crisis.”
Called “Operation Open Roads,” the initiative by the governors seeks to make the transportation of goods easier by using their authority to modify weight, size, or load restrictions to allow the cargo to move “more efficiently,” allow truck drivers to spend more hours on the road, giving them more flexibility in delivering loads, and adjusting commercial license barriers to put more drivers on the road, according to the plan.
“Our families must put food on the table, gas in the car, and buy clothes, medicine, and supplies for their children and loved ones,” the plan reads. “Our hospitals and healthcare providers must have personal protective equipment, medical devices, and other resources to care for their patients. For consumers and industry alike, we must strengthen and support America’s supply chain.”
They are also calling on Biden to ease “outdated” federal regulations, such as lowering the age requirement for a commercial driver’s license from 21 to 18 “so that well-trained, working adults can work across state borders.”
The group is also asking Biden to suspend the vaccine mandate for private companies with more than 100 employees in the trucking and transportation industries to not “further exacerbate” the driver shortage by adding a barrier to employment.
Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson, a signatory to the letter, said Monday that the federal government needs to either “get on board” with the initiative, or get “out of the way.”
"Missourians, like many Americans, are deeply concerned about their rising grocery and energy bills, increasing delays for goods and services, and soaring inflation threatening their paychecks," Parson said in a statement. "The Biden Administration's continued attempts to tax, spend, and regulate its way out of this crisis have failed. We are committed to doing what we can at the state level to fix this crisis and to get us back on track, but we need the federal government to get on board or get out of the way."
According to the letter, the United States saw a 638% increase in shipping disruptions during the first half of 2021 for essential products like semiconductor chips, plastics, and cardboard.
Shipping delays from Asian countries rose from 14 hours to 13 days in September, causing stores to receive only 40% of their orders, compared to 90% before the COVID-19 pandemic, the letter said.