WASHINGTON - U.S. President Joe Biden is signing an order Monday strengthening the national government’s commitment to buy American-made goods at a time when the world’s largest economy is slowing because of the coronavirus pandemic.
While all U.S. leaders have committed the government to Buy American programs, the White House said Biden’s order would “close loopholes that allow companies to offshore production and jobs while still qualifying for domestic preferences.”
The White House said the Biden order “will ensure that the federal government is investing taxpayer dollars in American businesses—both small and large,” including from entrepreneurs and businesses owned by minorities.
“The dollars the federal government spends on goods and services are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers,” the White House said, with contracting alone accounting for nearly $600 billion in federal spending.
The White House said Biden’s order would direct federal agencies to close loopholes in the definition of American products to make certain they have been sufficiently manufactured in the United States to qualify as an American-made product.
It said Biden would name an official in the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the government’s Buy American plan and increase oversight of waivers that in the past have been granted to domestic preference laws.
“This order is deeply intertwined with the President’s commitment to invest in American manufacturing, including clean energy and critical supply chains, grow good-paying, union jobs, and advance racial equity,” the White House said.
Biden’s Buy America order is the latest in a string of executive orders he has signed in his first five days in office since assuming power last Wednesday from former President Donald Trump.
Biden has overturned an array of Trump policies, including announcing U.S. intentions to rejoin the international Paris climate change accord and stay in the World Health Organization, lifting the ban on transgender people serving in the U.S. armed forces and halting funding for construction of Trump’s wall along the Mexican border.
In addition, Biden has sought to ramp up production of vaccines to curb the spread of the coronavirus and ordered people to wear face masks while on federal property and while using mass transportation.