On Monday, President Joe Biden issued an executive order promoting the “Buy American” agenda he campaigned on last year. The EO sought to bolster local manufacturing through the federal procurement process. It directs government agencies to strengthen requirements about purchasing local products and services. It also aims to cut red tape in the purchasing process. In addition, the EO also created a position in the Office of Management and Budget. The new position becomes responsible for enforcing the Buy American directive. Biden’s executive order also emphasized support for the Jones Act. The Act restricts foreign maritime shipping to use US-made and owned vessels in between US ports.
During the signing, Biden took shots at former President Donald Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” order. In 2017, Trump signed the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order, seeking to create higher wages and employment rates for US workers. The Trump EO also aimed to protect American economic interests. It does so by rigorously enforcing and administering immigration laws. Also, it directed the Department of Homeland Security to ensure H-1B visas end with skilled beneficiaries.
Biden said that his EO would have clear directives and hold coordinated efforts. It includes replacing the federal government fleet with American electric cars. Biden also wants federal stockpiles to replenish using products from American suppliers. “As this pandemic has made clear, we can never again rely on a foreign country that doesn’t share our interest to protect our people in a national emergency,” he said.
Part of Campaign Promise
The Buy American strategy is part of Biden’s campaign proposal. He called for $400 billion in government purchases of local products and services. According to an administration official, the order reflects Biden’s view that American manufacturing remains core to the economic strategy. It also aims to strengthen supply chains and modernize international trading rules.
The President said he is confident he can work with Republicans. “We’re going to argue like hell, I’m confident in that, believe me, I know that. I’ve been there. But I think we can do it in a way that we can get things done for the American people,” he explained.
Support for Buy American
Democrats and local industry groups and unions gave their support. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CN) said the order is “a big step in the right direction” for American businesses. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI) American businesses in need of federal investment welcome it.
United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble also gave their blessing. He the EO is “a powerful statement of solidarity” with hardworking Americans. Also, the American Maritime Partnership said they are grateful for the administration’s support.
Meanwhile, conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks criticized the initiative. President Adam Brandon said the executive order sounds nice. However, it will only raise the prices of government purchases using tax dollars. And it will do so against a ballooning deficit. Groups representing US exporters cautioned against protectionist measures. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau showed concern about the order. He said it might affect the strong supply chain between the two countries.
Other countries might also complain about the changes. As retaliation, they could start refusing products and services from US companies. During the Trump administration, many countries slapped US companies with tariffs.
However, Biden pledged to crack down on unfair trading practices. He reiterated his commitment to maintaining partnerships with America’s allies. A Biden administration official said the US will remain committed to working with allies. They will update international trade rules so taxpayer dollars can stir local investments.
Buy American Initiative
Total contracts by federal agencies for goods and services totaled $586 billion in 2019. According to the Government Accountability Office, foreign goods accounted for less than 5% of federal purchases.
Watch the NBC News Now reporting that President Joe Biden signs executive order promoting federal agencies to buy American:
Do you support Biden’s Buy American initiative? Do you think this is a good idea given the globalized nature of the market today? Let us know what you think about the President’s new executive. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.