Senators Shaheen & Moran Host Virtual Roundtable with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo on Bolstering U.S. Home Building Supply Chain

August 03, 2021

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chair and Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Commerce, hosted a virtual roundtable discussion with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo highlighting the need to bolster the home building supply chain in New Hampshire, Kansas and across the country.

Supply chain interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as a shortage in lumber and the closure of sawmills and timber harvesting businesses, coupled with booming demand for lumber, have led to surging home construction costs in New Hampshire and across the country.

During the event, Senators Shaheen and Moran and Secretary Raimondo met with representatives from the home building supply chain, such as the lumber industry, and discussed how to help address the affordable housing shortage, price volatility and supply chain interruptions. Jasen Stock, the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association and Barry Kelley, President of White Mountain Lumber Company in Berlin were also in attendance and spoke about the impact of supply chain interruptions on the local lumber industry.

“The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on the home building supply chain. Challenges like supply bottlenecks and skyrocketing demand for construction materials resulted in surging prices and harmed the supply chain – affecting timber harvesters and haulers, sawmills, retail stores, home builders and ultimately Granite State families who need a safe and affordable place to live. We felt the impact in New Hampshire, and after today’s discussion, it’s clear the ripple effect was felt across the country,” said Senator Shaheen. “I want to thank Senator Moran, Secretary Raimondo and everyone who joined this afternoon to discuss how we can bolster the construction industry in New Hampshire and throughout the nation. I look forward to working with them in the weeks and months ahead to support affordable housing.”

“The volatility in the lumber market is pricing hundreds of thousands of potential home buyers out of achieving the American dream of home ownership,” said Senator Moran. “Supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic have driven up the price of building and buying homes and the threat of increasing countervailing duties on certain lumber imports from Canada threaten to exacerbate the situation. I appreciate the partnership of Senator Shaheen and Secretary Raimondo’s willingness to engage with industry leaders within the supply chain, including Kansas stakeholders, as we work to address the nationwide high cost of lumber and make the dream of home ownership attainable for all Americans.”

“The Biden Administration is firmly committed to tackling our housing challenges we face as we continue to build back better,” said Secretary Raimondo. “These have real implications for families in every community across the country, and we will continue to bring together stakeholders to identify potential solutions to address both short- and long-term issues. It is going to take collaboration among stakeholders to sort out bottlenecks and further strengthen the supply chain. We also need to directly grow our supply of housing in America, which is why the President has called for a historic investment to create and preserve more than 2 million affordable and sustainable homes.”