President Biden traveled to Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania to bolster support for his infrastructure package on the decisive breakthrough day with Republicans on the hill, who said they had resolved the major sticking points in a final settlement on a far-reaching infrastructure plan, and planned to vote to move the package forward.
After touring a factory that makes Mack trucks, Mr. Biden highlighted the importance of American manufacturing and introduced a new proposal to support domestic manufacturing by increasing the amount of products made by the federal government in the United States.
“In the last few years, Buy America has become an empty promise,” said Biden. “My government is going to make Buy America a reality, and I put the weight of the federal government behind that commitment.”
In front of two Mack trucks and an oversized American flag, Mr. Biden said he is making the biggest enforcement changes to the Buy America law in 70 years, with the goal of getting tens of billions of dollars in community jobs like. to stuck Allentown.
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government purchases approximately $ 600 billion annually in goods, including everything from helicopter blades to office furniture. Mr. Biden announced on Wednesday that he was changing the “Buy American” rules for purchases made with taxpayers’ money. The plan is to increase the proportion of components to be manufactured in Germany from 55 percent to 60 percent and gradually increase it to 75 percent.
“55 percent is not high enough,” Biden said, referring to the domestic share of contractor-supplied products. “We have a new sheriff in town.”
He added, “When American companies know we are buying from them, they will be more inclined to hire people and make important future investments in their companies.”
However, Mr. Biden’s efforts to boost the economy and his infrastructure plan came along with new data on the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant and the possibility of upcoming variants. Fear of the pandemic has rebounded, and Mr Biden was expected to announce Thursday that civil federal workers would need to be vaccinated or have weekly tests.
Wearing a mask for part of his trip, Mr Biden brushed aside reporters’ questions about the possibility of introducing vaccination regulations.
On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for universal masking in schools and urged vaccinated Americans to return to masks in the many counties in the country where the virus is rising. At the same time, officials from Congress and the White House reintroduced masking requirements for indoor staff to counter the rise.
The return to masking in the west wing came just over two months after Mr Biden and senior officials removed their face masks, the greatest sign of a triumphant return to normal since he took office.