FILE - Sen. Josh Hawley, Election 2020 Congress, 2020, Missouri

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asks questions during a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss election security and the 2020 election process on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-MO, is a leading conservative who is fighting for the America First agenda. Recently, Sen. Hawley introduced the “Make in America to sell in America Act,” in an effort to address the supply chain crisis and the troubling dependency upon foreign countries for necessities. Americans are being confronted with increasing prices due to inflation and a clogged supply chain that is hindering consumer demand. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the supply chain, the numerous container ships waiting to unload their cargo is symbolic of how dependent the nation has become on foreign countries for necessities. Sen. Hawley’s legislation is an attempt to bring more manufacturing back home and place the interests of Americans first.

The objective of the “Make in America to Sell in America Act” is to “revitalize American manufacturing while securing critical supply chains and to end the “dangerous overreliance on foreign factories to help ensure a supply crisis never happens again.” The pandemic demonstrates just how dependent the nation has become not just on China, but also other nations for necessities such as medicines and medical supplies. Whether it is manufacturing, mining, or energy, it is time to place the interests of the United States first.

President Joe Biden’s “supply chain crisis is getting worse with every passing day, straining the finances of working Americans who have already been forced to endure so much over the past year and a half. Biden's policies have given us empty shelves and rising prices across the country. It’s past time for the U.S. to end its crippling dependency on foreign manufacturing in countries like China and ensure that we actually produce the goods we need here at home,” Sen. Hawley said.

The United States has become dangerously dependent on foreign nations, even potentially hostile nations such as China, for essential goods. “Thanks to its mercantilism and heavy subsidies, Beijing has long succeeded in gutting key U.S. industries – including pharmaceuticals, electronics, and solar equipment,” wrote Michael Stumo, who serves as CEO for the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

This even includes materials related to our national security and defense. One example is the shortage of semiconductors. “Why are semiconductors so important? Because computer chips are the “brains” of not just computers, cars, and medical devices, but also the weapons systems that support America’s military. Being so dependent on imported computer chips leaves America’s national security vulnerable to the whims of the global market,” wrote Stumo.

Sen. Hawley’s legislation would help end this dependency by requiring more of these necessities to be manufactured in the United States. China, which recently tested a hypersonic missile, is building up its military and threatening Taiwan, and is not a nation that the United States should be dependent upon. Even domestic goods from China can be questionable in terms of their safety and other hazards.

The United States is still running large trade deficits. The trade deficit in August was a record $73.3 billion. Since 2001, the nation “has rung up over $12 trillion dollars in accumulated global deficits.” China’s exports to the United States have risen 31% since 2018. It is estimated that 3.7 million American jobs alone were lost to China between 2001 and 2018. This does not include manufacturing that was lost to other countries.

“Is not the case now conclusive that we made a historic mistake when we outsourced our economic independence to rely for vital necessities upon nations that have never had America’s best interests at heart,” asked columnist Patrick J. Buchanan?

Defenders of free trade agreements and globalization argue that the benefits outweigh the loss of manufacturing jobs. The main benefit being consumers can purchase cheaper goods. However, the loss of manufacturing has led to not only lost jobs, but lower wages, greater dependence on social welfare programs, and the economic decline of many communities.

“International trade has largely failed America over the past three decades,” wrote former United States Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer in The Economist. President Donald Trump was the first to address this failed policy by renegotiating trade agreements and placing tariffs on steel and aluminum. President Trump also stood up to China’s predatory trade practices and levied tariffs on China.

The United States cannot continue to depend on foreign countries for necessities, especially when they impact national security and health. Sen. Hawley is correct that the nation needs “trade policies that put American workers first, that prioritize them over cheap goods from abroad, that encourage the real production of real things here, and not just arbitrage schemes by the great corporations.”

Sen. Hawley is a conservative who is fighting to place the interests of America first.

John Hendrickson serves as the policy director for Tax Education Foundation of Iowa