Biden to sign ‘Buy American’ executive order

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President Biden will sign an executive order on Monday aimed at boosting his “Buy American” efforts, following years of “Buy American, Hire American” initiatives from his predecessor.

The order, which the commander-in-chief will sign this afternoon, aims to increase domestic manufacturing by harnessing the purchasing power of the federal government and closing loopholes for companies taking business overseas.

If the “Buy American” moniker sounds familiar, that’s because President Trump signed multiple executive actions focused on his “Buy American, Hire American” agenda dating back to early 2017.

In April of that year, the 45th president signed an executive action encouraging federal agencies to purchase US-made iron, steel and manufactured goods.

Two years later, he signed another two actions, focused on encouraging the use of US-made materials in federally-financed infrastructure projects.

Executive orders are legally binding, and as a result, are published in the Federal Register. Executive actions, by contrast, are more often symbolic efforts to enact change.

President Trump’s directives encouraged new grant and loan recipients to use iron, steel, aluminum, cement and other manufactured products produced in the US, but did not mandate it.

What Biden will sign Monday is an order, which will increase how much of a product must be made in the US for it to qualify as made in America.

It will also create a website for Americans to see what contracts are being awarded to foreign vendors, and a position with the Office of Management and Budget to implement the federal procurement effort.

The federal government spends nearly $600 billion annually on goods and services, which Biden officials hope the order will keep more of in the United States.

Speaking to reporters on a call Sunday, a senior Biden administration official was pressed about the similarities in the “Buy American” messaging.

“The prior administration issued numerous releases and orders. But, when you look at the outcome, there was no real material change in either the way in which domestic content was measured, the stringency of the domestic content requirements, or the utilization of waivers to the Buy American provision,” the official argued.

“So, you know, in practice, nothing happened.”

Still, Trump repeatedly accused Biden of plagiarizing him while on the campaign trail over his embrace of the “Buy American” messaging.

In July of last year, as the general election campaign was in full swing, the then-president told reporters outside the White House that Biden, “plagiarized from me, but he can never pull it off. He likes plagiarizing.”

With Post wires

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