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President Biden during a White House event last Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Biden will announce a new task force today to focus on the supply chain disruptions created by the pandemic and economic shutdowns, according to administration officials.

Why it matters: By naming Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to the new task force, Biden is trying to ensure that the economy reopens as smoothly as possible as more Americans return to work.

  • The Supply Chain Disruption Taskforce will focus on short-term bottlenecks in a variety of sectors, including: homebuilding and construction; semiconductors; transportation and logistics; and agriculture and food.
  • "The Administration is taking immediate action to address vulnerabilities and strengthen resilience with the launch of a new effort aimed at addressing near-term supply chain disruptions," according to a White House fact sheet.

The big picture: In February, Biden ordered a 100-day review to study supply chain vulnerabilities for semiconductors, pharmaceutical ingredients, large capacity batteries for electric vehicles and critical minerals.

  • Today, in response to the review, the administration is announcing $60 million from the Health and Human Services for pharmaceutical manufacturing.
  • The Department of Energy will be encouraged to use existing authorities and funding to support manufacturing of advanced technology vehicle battery cells.

The bottom line: The White House is pursuing both short- and medium-term solutions to a long-term problem.

  • But for durable fixes, Biden will need authorization from Congress to improve supply lines and America's domestic manufacturing base.

Go deeper

Jun 7, 2021 - World

India's PM announces free coronavirus vaccines

Photo: T. Narayan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Monday that the government would offer free COVID-19 vaccines to all adults later this month, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Previously, India had only provided free vaccines to elderly adults and front-line workers — meaning most people within the 18–45 age group would have to pay a fee in order to be vaccinated.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

CDC: Vaccinated people in COVID hotspots should resume wearing masks

CDC director Rochelle Walensky and top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci at a Senate HELP committee hearing. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite-Pool/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public settings if they are in parts of the U.S. with substantial to high transmission, among other circumstances.

Why it matters: The guidance, a reversal from recommendations made two months ago, comes as the Delta variant continues to drive up case rates across the country. Millions of people in the U.S. — either by choice or who are ineligible — remain unvaccinated and at risk of serious infection.