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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

Sep 15, 2021 - Health

NIH launches massive project to study long COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The National Institute of Health is launching a nationwide series of studies with as many as 40,000 people to research the long-term effects of COVID-19.

Why it matters: COVID symptoms that last more than four weeks, usually referred to as long COVID, have become an emerging public health concern as researchers do not know the cause.

Sep 16, 2021 - Health

Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are one of the fastest-growing populations, yet data collection on the community at the federal and state levels remains "virtually nonexistent," according to a new study published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

Why it matters: In 1997, the Office of Management and Budget mandated the disaggregation of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data from the broader "Asian" category. Yet two decades later, over 30% of federal data sources fail to provide disaggregated NHPI data, a gap that's more pressing than ever due to the pandemic, researchers say.

Sep 15, 2021 - Health

Report: 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers

A woman holds an anti-mask and vaccine placard outside a meeting of the Volusia County School Board in Deland, Florida. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Republican lawmakers in more than half of U.S. states have weakened state or local officials' authority to implement policies to protect the public against the coronavirus and other infectious diseases, AP and Kaiser Health News report.

The big picture: Since the coronavirus pandemic began, lawmakers in all 50 states have introduced bills to curb state and local officials' public health authority, a KHN review found.