Biden to Require US-Made Steel, Iron for Infrastructure
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is taking a key step toward ensuring that federal dollars will support U.S. manufacturing — issuing requirements for how projects funded by the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package source their construction material.
The guidance being 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 U.S., according to administration officials. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 existing infrastructure projects is U.S.-made, even though the federal government is already spending $350 billion on construction this year. The new guidelines would enable government officials to know how many dollars go to U.S. workers and factories.
Tucked into the bipartisan infrastructure package that became law last November was a requirement that starting on May 14 “none of the funds” allocated to federal agencies for projects may be spent “unless all of the iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in the project are produced in the United States.” That’s according to Monday’s 17-page guidance.
The guidance includes three standards for these requirements to be waived: if the purchase “would be inconsistent with the public interest”; if the needed materials aren’t produced “in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or of a satisfactory quality”; or if U.S. materials increase a project’s cost by more than 25%.
American manufacturers are about 170,000 jobs short of the 12.8 million factory jobs held in 2019, as manufacturing jobs began to decline before the pandemic began. But the U.S. has 6.9 million fewer manufacturing jobs compared with the 1979 peak, a loss caused by outsourcing and automation.
Getting more industrial jobs will likely mean adding more factories and assembly lines — as manufacturers are operating at a 78.7% capacity, which the Federal Reserve notes is above the historical average.
In The News
PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Ohio’s Republican governor is decrying a Biden administration decision to suspend tariffs on solar panels from Southeast... Read More
PERRYSBURG, Ohio — Ohio’s Republican governor is decrying a Biden administration decision to suspend tariffs on solar panels from Southeast Asia, calling the move a threat to American manufacturers, including First Solar, which is currently building its third manufacturing plant in his state. On Thursday, Gov.... Read More
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Caterpillar Inc., one of the world’s most recognizable manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, has begun a... Read More
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Caterpillar Inc., one of the world’s most recognizable manufacturers of construction and mining equipment, has begun a three-year project to demonstrate the viability of a hydrogen-fueled combined heat and power system. Though the project, which is being undertaken with Minnesota-based District Energy St.... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday directed his administration to “work urgently” to respond to the major baby formula... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Thursday directed his administration to “work urgently” to respond to the major baby formula shortage that has forced families across the United States to rely on others with leftover supplies to swap or sell to get the nutrition they need... Read More
HOLLAND, Mich. — A city perhaps best known today for being the home of the much-photographed Big Red Lighthouse that... Read More
HOLLAND, Mich. — A city perhaps best known today for being the home of the much-photographed Big Red Lighthouse that stands between the channel linking Lake Macatawa to Lake Michigan, will soon be home to the world’s first mass-scale sodium-ion battery plant. Natron Energy Inc., a... Read More
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is making $3.1 billion in funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law available to... Read More
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy is making $3.1 billion in funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law available to manufacturers and other commercial entities involved in making, retrofitting and recycling lithium-ion batteries. The investment is part of the Biden administration’s effort to have more batteries... Read More
WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars will start flowing to the Department of Commerce if Congress passes the Innovation and Competition... Read More
WASHINGTON — Billions of dollars will start flowing to the Department of Commerce if Congress passes the Innovation and Competition Act, also known as the Bipartisan Innovation Act, funds that will transform the department’s upcoming budget, according to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Wednesday. “I want to... Read More