WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Monday to strengthen the federal government’s ‘Buy American’ rules and provide a boost to American manufacturing.
The move comes as the President looks to fulfill a long-time campaign promise to increase the amount of federal spending that goes to American companies. The signing of the order comes after Mr. Biden signed last week, directing additional relief to Americans who need the money the most.
“The previous administration didn’t take it seriously enough,” Biden said. “The result: Tens of billions of American taxpayer dollar supporting foreign jobs and foreign industries.”
As things currently stand, only a portion of federal rules requires government spending on key things such as infrastructure, vehicles and other equipment is restricted to goods that are made in the United States. There are loopholes in the rules such as material, the amount being spent on the purchase, and what qualifies as American made.
Mr. Biden executive order will change that. He is creating a position in the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the process, where contractors can apply for waivers from the Buy American rules.
That starts with stopping federal agencies from waiving buy-American requirements with impunity as has been going on,” Biden said. “If an agency wants to issue a waiver to say, ‘We’re not going to buy an American product as part of this project, we’re going to buy a foreign product,’ they have to come to the White House and explain it to us.”
The manufacturing sector failed to receive the boost former President Donald Trump promised. The number of manufacturing jobs grew during the first two years of his administration but declined in 2019 after Trump’s China tariffs created uncertainty for businesses.
Elsewhere, Mr. Biden said he expects anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine should be able to get one by the spring as he upped his vaccination goal for his first 100 days in office. The President told reporters on Monday he believes the country can now give out 1.5 million shots per day and give 150 million vaccinations over the next 100 days.
“It is going to be a logistical challenge that exceeds anything we’ve ever tried in this country, but I think we can do that,” he said.
The President also went on to say he believes “we’re going to be well on our way to heading toward herd immunity” by the summer. That would allow children to get vaccinated against the virus, which is expected to get worse in the coming weeks.
Mr. Biden went on to warn Americans, cautioning them it will be a long process that will take time, responding to critics who said his vaccination goal is something that won’t see change for months.
“It is going to take time, it is going to take a heck of a lot of time,” Biden said. “We are in this for a while.”
The President’s goal of 150 million shots would provide protection to 75 million Americans – about 23 percent of the population. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said it would take more than 70 percent of the population to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.