MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida Congressman Carlos Gimenez and Florida Senator Rick Scott introduced a new bill to help with the ongoing supply chain concerns.

“The Supply Chain Emergency Response Act” redirects $125 million of unspent and unobligated funds from the CARES  Act to help facilitate cargo vessels that are on hold right now along the West Coast to cross the Panama Canal and dock in ports along the East Coast including Florida.

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The legislation also allows state governors to use unspent, unobligated CARES Act funds to help offset port fees and other related state-level expenses.

“It is a grave failure of the Biden Administration that our store shelves are empty, and that Americans cannot find basic goods and products. From the beginning of this supply chain dilemma, Florida’s ports have clamored for more cargo vessels to reroute from their original port call to California and come to the East. Like Florida, several states in the Gulf and the eastern seaboard have both the port capacity and the logistical capabilities to ensure goods reach our shelves in a timely and efficient manner,” Gimenez said after the bill’s introduction.

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“Getting these cargo vessels to Florida and other eastern states also alleviates the shipping container shortage, which has made it difficult for American producers – from our farmers and ranchers to our domestic manufacturers – to ship their goods and products abroad,” he said.

The bill was introduced to the Senate along with Florida Senator Rick Scott.

“As empty shelves grow more and more common, prices are surging higher and small businesses can’t access the goods they need to serve their customers. Joe Biden’s supply chain and inflation crises are devastating for so many Americans, but it’s our poorest families, those on low and fixed incomes like mine growing up, that are hurt the most. Yet, Biden does nothing to help,” said Sen. Scott. “Unlike the Biden Administration, I’m not going to just sit around and play TV commentator. Today, I am proud to partner with my friend and colleague Congressman Gimenez in introducing the Supply Chain Emergency Response Act to get products flowing to American families and businesses again. We need to make Washington work for Florida families. Fortunately, Florida’s ports are ready and able to help with this crisis and I hope all of my colleagues work with us to quickly pass this good and urgently needed bill.”

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It goes without saying that the once-in-a-lifetime COVID pandemic has exacerbated existing supply chain problems. That includes a shortage of workers along the path that products take from the factory to consumers, creating multiple bottlenecks in a system that depends on timeliness to function. And this has happened just as demand drastically increased for those products. Team