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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

What's happening: Voters are quick to blame presidents for big problems. For President Biden, those include higher grocery and gas prices, plus the Everything Shortage.

  • Acknowledging as much, the White House on Wednesday sent reporters a pre-Black Friday recap of "three quick supply-chain points."
  • Those include retailers saying they have stock, plaudits for Biden's efforts to unstick the supply chain, and vague criticism that "the cartel of shipping companies that control the terms of global trade have never been more profitable."

Driving the news: House Democrats — particularly in swing districts — are urging their leaders to make the issue a priority.

  • Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa), who has introduced a number of bills to address the supply-chain issue, plans to push House leadership to bring more related measures to the floor, an aide to the congresswoman told Axios.

A bipartisan group of House members, including vulnerable Democratic Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Colin Allred (D-Texas), sought to renew the Supply Chain Caucus last week, according to a Craig aide.

  • Craig said in a statement to Axios: "It’s clear that our reliance on global supply chains have left us unprepared to meet the demand that our economy is currently experiencing."

Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) filmed a video in her district, home to two GM plants that have closed intermittently because of chip shortages. She said she is working on legislation to ensure microchips are made in the U.S.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) sent Biden a letter urging him to appoint a supply-chain czar.

  • Spanberger praised the president for tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but said there's much work left to be done.

Biden has taken several steps to mitigate supply-chain disruption.

Between the lines: Many experts agree with Biden that the pandemic is to blame.

  • COVID-19 outbreaks have swept through factories across Southeast Asia, slowing down production of clothes, shoes, electronics and furniture, Axios’ Sam Baker writes.
  • Some U.S. swing voters said during a recent focus group they don’t blame the president for inflation.

Go deeper

Focus group: Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Pool/Getty Images 

As President Biden approaches the one-year mark of his presidency, some swing voters say his handling of the pandemic has weakened him in their eyes.

  • But they see him projecting strength when he talks about protecting American democracy.

Driving the news: These were key takeaways from the latest Engagious/Schlesinger swing-voter focus groups for Axios, conducted Tuesday, just days after the president's Jan. 6 anniversary speech.

Biden's epic failures

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

In the two months since signing the $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, President Biden has by almost every measure bombed big time on the things that matter most.

The big picture: Biden, who marks one year in office next Thursday, has never been less popular nationally, after personally lobbying his party and the public on Build Back Better and voting rights — and failing.

Updated 56 mins ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.