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Following Advocacy from Rep. Kathy Manning, President Biden to Sign “Buy American” Executive Order

January 25, 2021

Greensboro, N.C. – Over the weekend, Rep. Kathy Manning (NC-06) and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) sent a letter to the Biden Administration urging the prioritization of American manufacturing to help bolster domestic production of PPE. Today, after receiving that letter, President Biden announced his intention to sign an Executive Order strengthening “Buy America” provisions.

“The Sixth District is home to several manufacturers who are well-equipped to produce top quality PPE right here in North Carolina,” said Rep. Kathy Manning. “These companies employ hundreds of local workers and they deserve fair access to government contracts. As our country continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, businesses and health care facilities will need increased access to PPE. Our local manufacturers and their employees are prepared to meet the demand and help bolster the production of PPE nationwide to replenish the stockpile.”

In their letter, Manning and Brown called on President Biden, through Executive Order and legislative efforts, to:

  1. Prioritize the purchase of fully made in America PPE “Berry compliant” to help continue bolstering the U.S. supply chain regardless of purchasing agency;
  2. Issue long-term contracts directly to domestic manufacturers when possible to help bolster the domestic supply chains;
  3. Adopt a contracting purchase methodology that uses “Best Value” criteria versus “Lowest Price Technically Acceptable” criteria; and
  4. Designate a point person in charge of coordinating the government’s efforts to procure PPE and other medical equipment who is responsible for meeting regularly with key domestic manufacturing stakeholders.

The Executive Order that President Biden will sign today prioritizes the following points, many of which were highlighted in the Manning-Brown letter:

  • Directs agencies to close current loopholes in how domestic content is measured and increase domestic content requirements.
  • Connects new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies.
  • Directs a cross-agency review of all domestic preferences.
  • Increases oversight of potential waivers to domestic preference laws.
  • Appoints a new senior leader in the Executive Office of the President in charge of the government’s Made-in-America policy approach.

Each year, the federal government spends nearly $600 billion on contracting alone. Federal law requires government agencies to give preferences to American firms, however, these preferences have not always been implemented consistently nor have they been substantially updated since 1954, during the Eisenhower Administration. President Biden’s Executive Order updates these provisions to ensure the federal government is investing in American workers and companies. Read President Biden’s Executive Order here.