U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today announced that her bipartisan American Mineral Security Act is included in new legislation to help the U.S. recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Murkowski’s bill, which focuses on rebuilding domestic supply chains, addresses systemic weaknesses exposed by the pandemic and is critical to the future of U.S. manufacturing and competitiveness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the fact that our nation is heavily dependent on imports for a wide array of goods and technologies that are essential to our health, economy, and security,” Murkowski said. “We need to reverse our damaging dependence on China and other nations and rebuild domestic supply chains for everything from personal protective equipment to clean energy technologies.”
The American Mineral Security Act would identify critical minerals, ensure timely surveying of domestic deposits, cut down on unnecessary permitting delays for projects to produce them, promote workforce development, and invest in research and development to increase recycling and the development of alternatives. It is incorporated into Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) Restoring Critical Supply Chains and Intellectual Property Act, which is in turn part of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act.
Last month, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing focused on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on supply chains and the fundamental role that minerals play in them. During the hearing, expert witnesses called attention to how the United States is “getting lapped” by China and even the European Union when it comes to mining, refining, and recycling critical minerals. The witnesses urged Congress to enact a variety of policy improvements, many of which are reflected in Murkowski’s bill.
The Energy and Natural Resources Committee reported the American Mineral Security Act to the full Senate last year with bipartisan support. It is cosponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Barrasso (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Mike Crapo (R-ID).Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.