Biden To Require U.S.-Made Steel, Iron For Infrastructure Projects
The Biden administration is taking a key step toward ensuring that federal dollars will support US manufacturing — issuing requirements for how projects funded by the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package source their construction material, Josh Boak reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: The US President meeting White House officials at the Oval Office
New guidance issued Monday requires that the material purchased — whether it’s for a bridge, a highway, a water pipe, or broadband internet — be produced in the US.
However, the rules also set up a process to waive those requirements in case there are not enough domestic producers or the material costs too much, with the goal of issuing fewer waivers over time as US manufacturing capacity increases.
"There are going to be additional opportunities for good jobs in the manufacturing sector,” said Celeste Drake, director of Made in America at the White House Office of Management and Budget. President Joe Biden hopes to create more jobs, ease supply chain strains and reduce the reliance on China and other nations with interests that diverge from America’s.
With inflation at a 40-year high ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, he’s betting that more domestic production will ultimately reduce price pressures to blunt Republican attacks that his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package initially triggered higher prices.
“From Day One, every action I’ve taken to rebuild our economy has been guided by one principle: Made in America,” Biden said Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It takes a federal government that doesn’t just give lip service to buying American but actually takes action.”
Biden said that the roughly $700 billion the government devotes annually to procuring goods is supposed to prioritize US suppliers but regulations going back to the 1930s have either been watered down or applied in ways that masked the use of foreign imports.
The administration could not say what percentage of construction material for infrastructure projects is US-made, even though the federal government is spending $350 billion on construction this year. The guidelines would enable officials to know how many dollars go to US workers and factories.