Trump executive order to boost 'Buy American, Hire American' plan coming: report

Trump executive order to boost 'Buy American, Hire American' plan coming: report
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President Trump reportedly plans to sign an executive order Tuesday riding on the slogan "Buy American and Hire American,” which aims to emphasize his administration’s promise to support domestic products and bring jobs back to the U.S.

Trump will likely sign the order while visiting the Snap-on tool company in Kenosha, Wis., NPR reports.

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"The capability of the American middle class to make things and keep them running has been at the base of our nation's strength since its founding," Snap-on CEO Nicholas Pinchuk said in a statement to NPR. "We believe the President's visit emphasizes the need to nurture such manufacturing strength."

The "Buy American" provision of the order will reinforce a stricter adherence to laws that require the federal government to purchase American-made products whenever possible

White House officials have reportedly complained that such laws have been circumvented over the years with government waivers.

The "Buy American" part could also include changes to the United States' free trade agreements, although the White House is likely still reviewing possible adjustments to its trade agreements.

The "Hire American" part targets government guest-worker programs, particularly the H-1B visa program. The order will crack down on “abuses” in such programs.

At a background briefing with reporters, senior administration officials described the current H-1B visa program as a lottery system that indiscriminately hands out work visas to contracting firms that recruit low-skilled, low-wage workers to replace domestic laborers.

They say a new system is needed to ensure that the program returns to its original purpose of bringing in high-skilled, high-paid workers to fill more specialized or technical roles.

Tuesday’s executive order won’t make immediate changes to the system but will direct the Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State departments to undertake a wholesale review of the H-1B visa program and to put forth recommendations that can be achieved administratively or through legislation.

That could mean adjusting the wage scale the government uses to assess applicants, giving preference to workers with advanced degrees or taking “a more vigorous stance” in enforcing violations of the program in an effort to root out fraud and abuse.

One senior administration official described “abuse” of the program as any company that “brings in a worker not because you need their skill or talent, but for the purpose of undercutting the American worker” by seeking out cheap foreign labor.

The executive order is not expected to address the number of visas that are given out annually.

"We’ve never had a systematic review like this,” the official said. “These steps are broadly supported by American workers and would bring these programs into compliance with their original intent. H-1B was intended to be a skilled worker program, but most of those using it are paid less than American workers in their field.”

Jonathan Easley contributed to this report.