Congressman Tim Ryan Applauds Biden Administration for Issuing Buy American Rule
Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (OH-13) issued the following statement in support of the Biden Administration issuing today’s Buy American Rule, which is the most robust change to the implementation of the Buy American Act in almost 70 years. This change will significantly increase U.S. made content in products the federal government buys and support the domestic production of products critical to our national and economic security.
“The U.S. government spends more than $600 billion every year buying everything from helicopter blades to office supplies – today’s announcement ensures that significantly more of that money will be spent on American-made products. This is good for American businesses, it’s good for American manufacturing, and – most importantly – it’s good for American workers,” said Rep. Tim Ryan. “Further, we need to do more to ensure that our critical supply chain is secure. Many Americans were shocked to find that early in the pandemic, the United States lacked the ability to produce those products. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Critical Supply Chains CommissionAct to ensure that our country has the expertise and systems are in place to react quickly in providing those manufactured items that are crucial to the health and safety of all Americans.”
With $600 billion in annual procurement spending, almost half of which is in manufactured products, the Federal government is a major buyer in a number of markets for goods and services, including the single largest purchaser of consumer goods in the world. Leveraging that purchasing power to shape markets and accelerate innovation is a key part of the Biden industrial strategy to grow the industries of the future and support U.S. workers, communities, and firms.
As the pandemic has demonstrated, federal procurement can strengthen the resiliency of domestic supply chains and reduce the risk of Americans being adversely impacted by the actions of competitor nations during a time of crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted crucial vulnerabilities in our supply chain systems, especially key life-saving and energy-providing products which rely on supply chains that are particularly vulnerable to outside influence and natural disasters. The importance of our supply chain system cannot be understated—it provides stability to the manufacturing sector that we now see can be a matter of life and death.
The proposed rule directs the following changes to strengthen Buy American requirements:
- “Make Buy American Real” and close loopholes by raising the domestic content threshold. The Buy American statute says products bought with taxpayer dollars must “substantially all” be made in the U.S. However, today, products could qualify if just 55%--just over half—of the value of their component parts was manufactured here. The NPRM proposes an immediate increase of the threshold to 60% and a phased increase to 75%. This proposal would close a problematic loophole in the current regulation, while also allowing businesses time to adjust their supply chains to increase the use of American-made components. If adopted, this change would create more opportunities for small- and medium-sized manufacturers and their employees, including small and disadvantaged enterprises, from all parts of the country. To support this work, the Small Business Administration has created a new manufacturing office in its federal contracting division.
- Strengthens domestic supply chains for critical goods with new price preferences. As the pandemic made clear, supply chain disruptions can impact the health, safety, and livelihoods of Americans—leaving us without access to critical goods during a crisis. Some products are simply too important to our national and economic security to be dependent on foreign sources. The NPRM proposes applying enhanced price preferences to select critical products and components identified by the Critical Supply Chain review, mandated under E.O. 14017, and the pandemic supply chain strategy called for under E.O. 14001. These preferences, once in place, would support the development and expansion of domestic supply chains for critical products by providing a source of stable demand for domestically produced critical products.
- Increases transparency and accountability in Buy American rules. Reporting challenges have hampered implementation of Buy American rules for decades. Currently, contractors only tell the government if they meet the content threshold rather than reporting the total domestic content in their products. The NPRM proposes to establish a reporting requirement for critical products. The new reporting requirement would bolster compliance with the Buy American Act and improve data on the actual U.S. content of goods purchased. More complete and accurate data would be used to target future improvements to support America’s entrepreneurs, farmers, ranchers, and workers— and along the way, create good jobs and resilient communities.
In April of 2021, Ryan introduced the Build American, Buy American Act with Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to apply Buy America Rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. Read more here.
In June of 2021, Ryan introduced the bipartisan Critical Supply Chain Commission Act with Congressman Bill Posey (R -FL) to establish an expert commission of twelve members tasked with increasing American manufacturing supply chain resilience. Read more here.