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Jan. 25, 2021, 2:32 p.m. EST

Biden’s ‘Buy American’ manufacturing order called ‘good first step’ by labor

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Robert Schroeder

Labor groups on Monday praised a forthcoming executive order by President Joe Biden that is aimed at boosting government purchases from American manufacturers, calling it a good start for the new administration.

Biden plans to sign an order that will put tougher rules on government procurement with the purpose of boosting purchases of made-in-the-U.S. products. The order is part of his “Buy American” campaign pledge to bolster U.S. manufacturing.

“This executive order will close loopholes that allow agencies to sidestep Buy American requirements and increase the thresholds for domestic content,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a statement. “This order is a good first step in revitalizing U.S. manufacturing, which [President Donald] Trump’s policies failed to do over the past four years,” Trumka said.

The order will modify the rules for the Buy American program, reports the Associated Press , making it harder for contractors to qualify for a waiver and sell foreign-made goods to federal agencies. And it changes rules so that more of a manufactured product’s components must originate from U.S. factories.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, said the group looks forward to working with the Biden administration and Congress “to quickly make real progress, without delay.”

“Stronger domestic content preference policies and a sizable new investment in infrastructure and clean energy will spur factory job creation and new investment in America,” said Paul, whose group is a partnership between the United Steelworkers and U.S. manufacturers.

The new order is the latest in a slew of such directives issued by the new president, who says urgent action is needed even as he negotiates a bigger aid package with Congress.

See: All of President Biden’s key executive orders — in one chart

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