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Biden touts proposed changes to “Buy American” campaign in Pennsylvania

President Joe Biden promoted his proposed changes to “Buy American” rules during a speech to industrial workers in Pennsylvania Wednesday.

Biden, speaking at a Mack Trucks operations facility in Macungie touted his proposals, which he claims would push for the government to purchase more American-made products.

“In recent years, ‘Buy American’ has become a hollow promise. But my administration is going to make “buy American” a reality,” Biden said.

Biden’s proposed changes would alter the threshold required for product to be considered to be “substantially all” made in America in a phased approach.

“Today, I’m directing the Budget Office to issue a rule to raise the amount of domestic content required to be considered made in America from 55 percent to 75 percent,” Biden said. “‘Substantially all’ is going to mean substantially all.”

The proposed changes to the rule by Biden also includes making contractors working with the government report the total domestic content in their products in addition to if their product meets the content threshold.

In addition to the touting new regulatory changes, Biden promoted his “build back better” agenda, which includes the American Rescue Plan. Biden also promoted the bipartisan infrastructure bill which wrapped up negotiations shortly before Biden gave his speech.

“You may have heard that, in Washington —and I was just on the phone— it looks like we reached a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure —a fancy word for bridges, roads, transit systems, high-speed Internet, clean drinking water, cleaning up and capping the orphan wells, over thousands of them abandoned, and abandoned mines —and a modern, resilient electric grid to build,” Biden said.

Biden’s agenda and proposed rule changes are not without opposition, as critics worry the new rules will make it more difficult more companies to work with the government.

“We know that America’s dozens of domestic content requirements create burdens for businesses, decrease competition for government contracts, and increase costs for taxpayers,” said Tori Smith, economist at the Heritage Foundation. “Existing regulations limit the number of companies that can qualify to bid on government contracts.”

Smith added that the new rules would affect competition for government contracts and the use of tax dollars.  

“Further action by the government to increase these burdens will continue to decrease the number of businesses willing and able to fulfill the contracts,” Smith said. “Without competition, the companies that are able to meet these onerous requirements can charge higher prices, ultimately making taxpayer dollars not stretch as far as they could. The proposed rule from the Biden Administration would further diminish competition within federal procurement.”

Despite criticism, Biden argued these changes to the “Buy American” rules will help American industry rebound from the pandemic and other challenges.

“Today, a lot of the folks who said we shouldn’t rescue the American auto industry are the same folks who are saying, ‘We don’t need to buy American.’  What those people never realized is, if you give an American worker just a chance —a fighting chance— there’s nothing they won’t do,” Biden said. “And if you give American companies and communities the chance, there’s nothing they can’t build.”

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