Biden To Sign Executive Order Aimed At Strengthening American Manufacturing
Jan 25, 2021, 8:40 AM
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden will sign an executive order Monday aimed at boosting American manufacturing, setting in motion a process to fulfill his campaign pledge to strengthen the federal government’s Buy American rules.
Similar executive orders signed by former President Donald Trump had little effect because his administration waited to formalize changes until his second to last day in office. By contrast, Biden will set a 180-day deadline to deliver on fundamental change to the process, according to an administration official.
“He believes we can rebuild the vitality of American manufacturing and our industrial strength. A big piece of that is centered around the idea that when we use taxpayer money to rebuild America, we buy American and we support American jobs,” the official said.
The order follows others Biden signed last week directing additional relief to the neediest Americans, as well as starting the process of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.
The President signed 30 orders in his first three days in office, some of them reversing Trump’s policies. Additional orders are expected this week with a series of themed days covering racial equity, climate, health care and immigration.
Closing loopholes in federal purchasing
Currently, a patchwork of federal rules requires that a portion of government spending on things like infrastructure, vehicles and other equipment is restricted to goods that are made in the United States. But there are loopholes depending on the material, the amount of the purchase, and what qualifies as American made.
Biden’s executive order will change how domestic content is defined and measured for qualifying products as well as increase the required threshold. It will also create a senior position at the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the process by which contractors can apply for waivers from the Buy American rules, with the goal of reducing the number of waivers granted.
The administration will also create a public website that will post all waiver requests and direct agencies to proactively connect with small American manufacturers that are often left out of the process.