Biden announces major boost to Buy American Act

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BUY AMERICAN: President Joe Biden announced a major overhaul to the Buy American Act last week, raising the requirement that the federal government can only purchase goods that are from 55 percent to 60 percent U.S.-made immediately and then incrementally increasing the threshold to 75 percent over the next decade. – WFMZ-TV 69 News screencap

L. Macungie Twp., PA – President Joe Biden has proposed a major change to the Buy American Act that would dramatically increase the amount of dollars going to American businesses.

Speaking at a Mack Trucks plant on July 28, Biden announced a proposal to change the implementation of the Buy American Act to increase U.S. content in the products the federal government buys and support the domestic production of products he says is critical to the country’s national and economic security.

Under the 1933 Buy American Act, the federal government can only purchase goods that are at least 55 percent made in the United States. According to the White House, Biden wants to amend that to increase it to 60 percent immediately and then incrementally increase it until the threshold hits 75 percent over the next decade.

“In recent years, buy American has become a hollow promise. My administration is going to make buy American a reality and I’m putting the weight of the federal government behind that commitment,” Biden said.

FIGHTING FOR WORKING FAMILIES
The move drew immediate praise from Labor leaders.

“President Biden is once again delivering on his promise of fighting for America’s working families,” Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, said. “For years, we’ve received lip service on the importance of Buy American, but today the Biden administration is following through on the simple concept that American taxpayers’ dollars should be used to create jobs and advance production here at home.”

WHAT IT MEANS FOR BUSINESSES, WORKERS
The federal government spends about $600 billion annually on the purchase of  everything from helicopter blades to office supplies to trucks. According to the White House, a 20 percent increase in spending in the United States would mean about $120 billion going to U.S. businesses, and help new small and medium-sized businesses get a piece of the federal spending pie.

Biden said the proposal will close a loophole in the current regulation, while allowing businesses time to adjust their supply chains to increase the use of American-made components.

“If companies know we’ll be buying from them, they’ll be more likely to hire and make investments,” Biden said.

“American strength is here,” Biden told workers at the Mack Truck plant. “It’s in this region. It’s you.”

President Biden also spoke about creating a better domestic supply chain on critical products, in light of the shortages during the pandemic.

“Yes, we’ll keep trading with allies, but we need to have a resilient supply chain of our own so that we’re never again at the mercy of other countries for critical goods,” Biden said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
While the rulemaking process requires a few months of public comments before it can become an official rule, the Biden administration has already informed departments to start using the stricter guidelines.

For example, the Department of Energy recently bought new electric vehicles for its fleet and only bought ones that were made in the U.S. or had their batteries made in the U.S. The department will also purchase steel products, advanced computing, and hazardous materials isolation equipment manufactured in Texas, Iowa, Idaho, Louisiana, South Carolina, Ohio, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

With businesses struggling to hire qualified people following the pandemic, the Biden administration is also investing $430 million through the Department of Labor into apprenticeship programs to provide training for people who want to enter into the domestic manufacturing workforce. Some states that will see this funding include Colorado, Texas, California, Michigan, Idaho, and Nevada.

(Information from UCOMM Blog and WFMZ-TV 69 News.)


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