A “Made in America” executive order is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden on Monday, fulfilling a long-term campaign commitment to increase the amount of federal funding that goes to American businesses.
The announcement comes at a time when the government is expected to invest heavily on attempts to counter COVID-19, and during a period during which vulnerabilities were revealed in the U.S. supply chain as state and local governments turned to international producers to procure urgently needed personal protective equipment.
The federal government spends around $600 billion annually on contracting, and there are already restrictions about how taxpayer dollars can be invested, how many foreign goods can be bought, and how many foreign parts can be brought to and manufactured in the United States. Waivers and loopholes, however, allow the procurement of far more international goods than the rules say.
The executive order of Biden would be aimed at closing certain loopholes and reducing the waivers and ordering an increase in domestic material. It would also redefine what can be counted as domestic content, build a public website so that U.S. businesses can see government contract business more effectively and decide whether they can make a more competitive bid for it.
A new senior position at the Office of Management and Budget will also be established by the Executive Order to oversee the implementation of these new efforts.
The goal is to ensure that companies do not weaken or get around the intent of the Made in America rules by importing mostly foreign-made goods, making modest improvements or tweaks on shore that add little value to American employees or American industry, not actually utilising the manufacturing capabilities of America, and also closing loopholes so that content rules drive new opportunities for American businesses and workers,” a senior administration official said on a call with reporters.
However, when pressed for a clear target rise in U.S.-made transactions the administration aims to accomplish, administrative officials did not yet have a response. The Foreign Acquisition Control Council is responsible for deciding how much foreign content is acceptable and how much domestic buying is mandatory.
The Biden administration is pitching the “Buy American” initiative as an attempt not only to assist U.S. corporations during the pandemic, but to begin fixing our economy’s systemic disparity.