Biden to sign executive order aimed at strengthening American manufacturing
The pandemic's effect on the manufacturing industry has been brutal. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the sector is still down 543,000 jobs since February.
But on Monday (Jan. 25), President Joe Biden hopes to begin the process that will reverse this financial crisis by signing an executive order designed to boost American manufacturing, CNN reports.
The order will initiate step one of a plan to strengthen the federal government's 'Buy American' rules, something Biden spoke about while campaigning, pledging to carry it out were he elected. In hopes of fulfilling his promise, President Biden is also expected to set a 180-day deadline to deliver on fundamental change to the process, an administration official said.
"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 explained.
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.
The executive order will not only change how domestic content is defined and measured for qualifying products, but increase the required threshold. According to CNN, 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 connect with small American manufacturers that are often left out of the process, CNN reports.
But not everyone will be pleased with the new rules. Biden's Buy American policy may concern some foreign trading partners. Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said in an interview with reorters on Sunday that "it might jeopardize the very strong an integrated supply chains that exist between our two countries."
In any case, this order follows a series of mandates signed by Biden during his first three days in office last week.
One of the 30 orders Biden signed directed that additional relief go to the neediest Americans, and another aimed to begin the process of raising the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.
He's expected to continue signing executive orders throughout the week via with a series of themed days covering racial equity, climate, health care and immigration, CNN reports.