Biden convened an Oval Office meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers — including some very conservative ones — to discuss vulnerabilities in U.S. supply chains for critical items, including computer chips.
“It’s nice to have everyone down here on a subject matter we all agree on and figure out how we get it all done,” he said during a small portion of the meeting that the news media was permitted to witness.
Biden, who was joined by Vice President Harris, plans to sign an executive order related to the issue later Wednesday. It will also be aimed at avoiding a repeat of the shortages of personal protective gear such as masks and gloves experienced last year in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a list provided by the White House, the Republicans in Wednesday’s meeting were Sens. John Cornyn (Tex.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Mike Braun (Ind.) and Rob Portman (Ohio) and Reps. John Joyce (Pa.) and Michael McCaul (Tex.).
“John Cornyn and the bipartisan group here put together an effort last year that I think is a pretty good effort on how to deal with these chips,” Biden said.
The Democrats present were Sens. Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Tammy Duckworth (Ill.), Maggie Hassan (N.H.) and Mark R. Warner (Va.) and Rep. Doris Matsui (Calif.).
As media outlets were ushered out, a reporter asked Biden what he had to say to the Republicans gathered who haven’t acknowledged his election victory.
“You’ll have to ask them,” Biden said with a laugh.
In an exchange with reporters after the meeting, McCaul said he was grateful to Biden for focusing on the issue so soon after taking office.
“I want to commend the president for making this a priority,” McCaul said. “When I talked to Secretary of State Blinken, the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, the president, the vice president — they get this, that we’ve got to focus on decoupling our supply chain from the Chinese Communist Party, particularly on medical, on rare earth minerals, but semiconductors as well.”