CLEVELAND, OH – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded an Executive Order signed by President Joe Biden to strengthen Buy American standards and help American businesses and workers. Biden had promised to make Buy American an early priority, and this order directs agencies to strengthen requirements for procuring goods and services from sources that will support U.S. businesses and workers.
Brown has long led efforts to ensure the federal government is supporting American workers by strengthening and better enforcing Buy American standards. Last Congress, Brown, alongside Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced legislation to apply Buy American rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. The Senators’ bipartisan bill, the Build America, Buy America Act, would implement Buy American rules across the board – ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy American-made iron, steel and manufactured products for any federally funded infrastructure projects.
Today, Brown hailed the President’s Executive Order as a good first step toward full implementation of his bill.
“It’s simple: American tax dollars should go toward American-made projects that support American jobs. Period.” said Brown. “American workers are the best in the world at what they do; it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to support them and our American businesses. I’m glad President Biden is following through on his promise to strengthen Buy American rules early on in his Administration and look forward to building on today’s announcement by working with the White House and Congress to get my Build America, Buy America Act signed into law.”
Yesterday, Brown and Rep. Kathy Manning (D-NC) wrote to President Biden urging the Administration to take several steps to bolster domestic production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which this order does. Today’s order also heeds Brown and Manning’s call to appoint a point person in charge of coordinating the government’s Buy American efforts with the announcement of the creation of a new Director of Made-in-America at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Last Congress, Brown and Portman joined their colleagues Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to reintroduce their BuyAmerican.gov Act. This legislation would establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law. Under current law, federal agencies may use domestic content waivers to Buy American laws to purchase goods or services from foreign companies only in certain circumstances: for example, when an American-made good is unavailable or will significantly increase the cost of a product. However, federal agencies overuse this waiver authority and there is currently no easily-accessible government-wide system to track the use and abuse of these waivers by federal agencies.
Brown also unveiled a blueprint last Congress to invest $1 trillion in the nation’s infrastructure, which includes several Buy American provisions.