Senator Maggie Hassan meets with manufacturers to discuss supply chain issues and upcoming legislation

  • U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan speaks with manufacturers during a roundtable discussion in Milford on Feb. 7. COURTESY PHOTO—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 2/21/2022 1:11:08 PM
Modified: 2/21/2022 1:10:49 PM

A bill being worked on in the U.S. Senate, proposed by Democratic New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, could provide up to $40 billion in grants and loans to manufacturers that produce critical goods.

In a round table at Cirtronics Corporation in Milford earlier this month, Hassan met with several manufacturers, including representatives of MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey, to talk about their ongoing challenges – including supply chain delays.

David Nichols, head of state and local corporate and government affairs at MilliporeSigma, said COVID-19 has revealed a need for a more-resilient supply chain, especially as need has increased for the manufacturer.

“In response to the pandemic, we have expanded our manufacturing in nearby Jaffrey and Danvers,” Nichols said. “And we recently announced a partnership with the U.S. Government, to build the first U.S. lateral flow membrane manufacturing facility in Sheboygan, Wisc. – so critical to adequate supplying our diagnostic customers in the U.S. and globally.”

During the roundtable, Hassan introduced and spoke about for the first time a Senate bill she was working on to support manufacturers of technologies such as semiconductors, military technology, solar panels, medical devices and biotechnology.

The bill would invest more than $40 billion in grants and loans to manufacturing companies to support the domestic production of those goods, as well as creating an office at the Commerce Department to focus on supply chains to disburse the funds. Additionally, the bill would create a national strategy for supply chains and how to better prepare for future supply chain disruptions.

Grey Chynoweth, CEO and director of Minim in Manchester, said the policies should be about “enabling and focused on resiliency,” according to a press release issued following the discussion. Deve Patterson, president and CEO of Cirtronics Corporation in Milford, agreed, saying there was a risk involved in being dependent on any country for U.S. manufacturing, calling it a “critical issue.”

MilliporeSigma, a global supplier of research and manufacturing, was involved in producing supplies used in the creation of the COVID-19 vaccine. The company has been working with the White House and the COVID-19 Task Force throughout the pandemic. Nichols said the company’s work with the government has shown collaboration can work.

“Within the U.S., we have the ability to share information and come up with pragmatic solutions – that may not require legislative action,” Nichols said.

He said in that respect, he didn’t see an urgent need to create statutory requirements regarding the mapping or modeling of supply chains domestically, but said the situation was more complex when dealing internationally – an inevitability for the.

“...[W]e will always need to extend supply chains beyond our borders – no matter how much we invest in domestic manufacturing expansion,” Nichols said. “ In the same way that the U.S. foreign commercial service helps U.S. manufacturers compete for foreign sales opportunities and government tenders, it would make sense for the Department of Commerce to create a foreign supply chain service, that is ready to assist U.S. manufacturers to secure needed inputs to feed into our U.S. based manufacturing.”

Nichols said this is already an informal reality, but the pandemic has increased the need.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172 ext. 244 or She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.

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