WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will take action on Monday to encourage the federal government to buy more products made in the United States, a move the new administration says will protect American jobs and fuel an economy severely hampered by the deadly pandemic of coronavirus.
Biden, who launched a $ 700 billion Buy American campaign as a presidential candidate, is set to sign an executive order that will advance several policies aimed at stimulating the federal government’s purchase of goods and services made in the United States, administration officials said on Sunday.
Federal law requires government agencies to give preference to U.S. companies when possible, but critics say those requirements have not always been implemented consistently or effectively. Some have not been significantly updated since the 1950s.
The federal government spends nearly $ 600 billion a year on contracts, which the administration says can spur the revitalization of the country’s industrial strength and create new markets for new technologies.
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To that end, Biden’s order will raise the national content threshold, which is the amount of a product that must be manufactured in the United States before it can be purchased by the federal government.
Currently, loopholes in federal law allow products to be stamped “made in America” for federal procurement purposes, even though just 51% of the materials used to produce them are made domestically. Administration officials have not said how much Biden intends to raise that threshold.
In addition, the ordinance will close loopholes that critics say federal agencies often use to bypass American product purchase requirements.
The ordinance calls for a central review of requests for exceptions to the Buy American rules and the creation of a website that will be accessible to the public. US manufacturers will be able to see these waivers and determine if they are able to supply the products requested. This will help more US companies compete and win federal contracts, an administration official said.
The order will also create a senior director position in the Office of Management and Budget, who will focus on the Made In America campaign and ensure the new rules and procedures are followed.
Federal agencies will be encouraged to use the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a public-private network that supports small and medium-sized businesses in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, to help agencies connect with new domestic suppliers who can manufacture the products. they need while employing American workers. .
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Shortly after taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump issued a series of executive orders aimed at strengthening the rules requiring federal agencies to purchase products made in the United States when possible. But critics argued that the effort failed, in part because of Trump’s inability to properly enforce the rules.
The order Biden will sign is expected to include a clear timeline for updating domestic content requirements and a process to reduce unnecessary waivers, which the administration says would fundamentally change how the program works.
Agencies will be required to report twice a year on their implementation of Made in America laws.
Since taking office last Wednesday, Biden has signed more than two dozen executive orders covering a variety of topics, including COVID-19 and food assistance to low-income families.
Michael Collins covers the White House. Contact him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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