Oct 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Dingell: Pandemic showed U.S. "dependent" on China's supply chains

Photo of Axios' Joann Muller interviewing Rep. Debbie Dingell.
Photo: Axios

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) during an Axios event on Thursday said that the pandemic underscored "how dependent we were on China for basic things like masks and gowns [and] how much of our medicine is being made there."

What she's saying: Dingell, who is on the House Energy and Commerce committee, cautioned that dependence on China is "not only an economic security issue, it's a national security issue."

  • "I want to keep this country safe, I don't want to be dependent on other countries," Dingell told Axios' Joann Muller.
  • "We outsourced our supply chain," Dingell said, adding that the pandemic, and other world events, have bolstered the case for producing products in the U.S.
  • "You've seen the world and some of the challenges we're facing, even in the Russia and Ukraine war, we need to bring that supply chain back home," she said.

The big picture: Dingell also said that it's crucial to invest in research and development of electric vehicles, specifically batteries, to increase accessibility.

  • "We've got to invest in R&D so that we have the battery that ... people are going to be able to go as far as they want without needing to charge, so it's going to need to have more range than just urban range or driving each day."
  • "And we've got to make sure we're not dependent on other countries," she said.
  • "We've got to develop the capability here to mine the minerals that we're going to need for those batteries."

State of play: President Biden's climate bill, signed in August, included funding to open tens of billions of dollars in subsidies for high-tech electric vehicle plants across the South and the Midwest.

Watch: A conversation on next steps in the EV transition

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