U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer, a Democrat who hopes to challenge Republican Chuck Grassley in 2022, says the Senate “is broken” and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s “no” on President Biden’s Build Back Better initiative is a symptom of the problem.
“After watching Manchin, after watching some of these senators — both Democrats and Republicans — who have been in D.C. for way too long, who have clearly lost sight and lost touch with what is happening with the American people and what is happening in their pocketbooks, I am more fired up than ever,” Finkenauer says.
Finkenauer says Iowans are “feeling the pinch” from inflation and disruptions in the supply chain. Finkenauer suggests federal properties should be used to temporarily store cargo containers that are stacked up at U.S. ports — so more containers can be transferred from ships to the docks.
“That could be very tangible, very quickly,” Finkenauer says.
Finkenauer is calling on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act to fill orders for some of the small components that are needed to keep American manufacturing lines running, but which are primarily made in other countries and shipped here.
“We do have the ability and some of the greatest workforce in the entire world, obviously, to be able to dea with some of this,” Finkenauer says. “We just need to do it.”
Finkenauer is calling on congress to pass a law requiring ships that cargo at U.S. ports to — in most instances — load back up with American goods and commodities before leaving.
“Cutting down on the anticompetitive practices of the shipping industry,” Finkenauer says, “…making sure that when these ships come in, they’re not leaving empty handed, without American goods.”
A recent analysis indicated nearly 60% of containers unloaded in the nine largest U.S. ports from January through October were empty when placed back on ships that sailed out for foreign destinations. Ag groups and manufacturers say it’s having a big impact on U.S. exports.
Finkenauer is among four Democrats say they intend to compete in next June’s primary for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination.