Administration

Biden touts new 'Buy American' proposal in Pennsylvania

President Biden on Wednesday touted a new effort by his administration to boost American-made products in remarks at a factory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Biden highlighted his push to support U.S. companies, put more Americans to work in union jobs and strengthen manufacturing.

His remarks came just hours after the White House proposed a rule aimed at securing critical supply chains and increasing the threshold for products to qualify as American-made.

"I can sum it up in two words: Buy American," Biden said about the rule while speaking at Mack Truck's Lehigh Valley operations facility in Lower Macungie Township.

"If you give an American worker just a chance, a fighting chance, there's nothing they won't do," he said. "Today, I'm placing my bet on America."

Biden said the Buy America Act of 1982 is supposed to ensure that when the government buys goods, they're built and purchased in the U.S.

"Previous administrations didn't take it so seriously. Previous, not just the last one," he said. "In recent years, 'Buy American' has become a hollow process. My administration is going to make 'Buy American' a reality. I'm putting the weight of the federal government behind that commitment."

The proposed rule would raise the threshold for products to qualify for purchase by the federal government. Currently, 55 percent of the value of the products' component parts must be manufactured in the U.S. to qualify. The new rule would raise the threshold to 60 percent.

It also aims to raise the threshold to 65 percent by 2024 and 75 percent by 2029.

"We have a new sheriff in town. We're going to be checking," Biden said while talking up the new Made in America office in the White House.

About 130 people attended Biden's speech, including staff from Mack Trucks, community members, elected officials and labor leaders.

"Yes, we'll keep trading with our allies, but we need to have a resilient supply chain of our own so we're never again at the mercy of another country for critical goods ever again, ever," Biden said, noting the supply chain shortcomings revealed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden also praised the recent bipartisan infrastructure deal after senators announced they had reached a deal with the White House on resolving "major issues."

"Looks like we reached a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure - fancy words for bridges, roads, transit systems, high-speed internet, clean drinking water," Biden said. 

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