President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before his departure to Philadelphia on July 13. Biden will return to Pennsylvania for a speech boosting U.S. manufacturing Wednesday. Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
July 28 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Wednesday proposed plans to bolster the federal government's Buy American rule in an effort to increase domestic manufacturing.
The White House released a fact sheet outlining plans to increase the current threshold requiring that 55% of products purchased with taxpayer dollars be manufactured in the United States immediately to 60% and to 75% by 2029.
"In recent years, 'Buy American' has become a hollow promise," Biden said during remarks at the Mack-Lehigh Valley Operations Manufacturing Facility in Lower Macungie Township, near Allentown, Pa. "But my administration is going to make 'Buy American' a reality. And I'm putting the weight of the federal government behind that commitment."
The administration said the purchasing rule updates will result in the "most robust changes to the implementation of the Buy American Act in almost 70 years," adding that increasing the production of local products is critical to national and economic security.
Biden also said he was directing the Budget Office to create new rules to enhance federal efforts to purchase critical goods such as semiconductors and medical supplies that are produced domestically.
"We saw during the early days of the pandemic that the supply chain disruptions can put Americans' lives and livelihoods at risk," he said. "When we needed them most, we were short of protective equipment, we were short on ventilators and other essential health equipment. We couldn't get the job done. We couldn't take care of people. We were short on basic equipment."
He added the changes would also call for increased transparency from contractors about the total domestic content of their products.
"Starting with critical products, instead of taking contractors at their word that they hit the threshold, we're going to start making them give us the details so that we can do more to support American manufacturing," he said.
The White House said Biden opened his new Made in America office in April to review proposed waivers related laws and help agencies use tax dollars to support American manufacturing.
"The president believes that when we spend American taxpayers' dollars, it should support American workers and businesses," the White House noted. "The Made in America Office issued new waiver guidance to fulfill the President's commitment to scrutinize and reduce waivers to Made-in-America laws."