President Biden Has Not Lived Up to His 'Buy American' Promises
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Biden Has Not Lived Up to His 'Buy American' Promises
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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Strong families are the bedrock of our country. But in Joe Biden’s America, cheap foreign labor is stripping stable, well-paying, jobs away from American families. After pledging to fight for American workers, globalist elites in our federal government are backstabbing industry and our blue-collar base, threatening American jobs, families, and national security.  All within a year and a half, President Biden has missed job creation targets by hundreds of thousands; has tanked America’s energy independence; has enabled the worst supply chain crisis in recent history; and as of March 2022, has allowed 2.5 million illegal aliens to flood our country, depressing wages for American workers. 

During his campaign, Biden promised to “mobilize the talent, grit, and innovation of the American people” to “ensure the future is ‘made in America’ by all of America’s workers.”However, from day one of his term, this Fake Buy American President has betrayed America.

Biden has a history of selling out American industry. During his fifty-year government career, Biden enthusiastically supported two of the worst trade deals in our nation’s history: the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. As a result, the United States lost nearly 70,000 factories and millions of manufacturing jobs.

Contrary to his rhetoric about a Buy American agenda, Biden started his “presidency” by killing 10,000 domestic oil industry jobs and reducing U.S. workers’ payroll by $2.2 billion through his “Climate Crisis” executive order, which halted construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Not only was the pipeline’s builder, TC Energy, going to award over $3 billion in contracts to U.S. workers to build an all new Made-in-America steel pipe for Keystone XL, it was also going to offer environmental protections by operating at net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

In Biden’s first so-called “Buy American” executive order, he abolished two major orders signed by Donald Trump aimed at creating millions of domestic jobs and strengthening U.S. national security. Trump’s 2017 “Buy American and Hire American,” executive order created higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers by enforcing immigration laws to protect U.S. economic interests. Additionally, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) executive order encouraged the USPS to alter its procurement policies to follow Buy American laws, opening potential business opportunities for American manufacturers to produce brand-new USPS delivery vehicles. 

Biden also suspended Trump’s executive order, which prevented the federal government from procuring any equipment for the U.S. Bulk Power system that is developed, manufactured, supplied, or controlled by foreign adversaries like China and Russia. To the detriment of American economic and national security, Biden exposed our bulk power system, which provides electricity for millions of U.S. citizens, corporations, and manufacturing facilities, to the whims of our enemies. 

Biden’s abandonment of U.S. manufacturing is highlighted by one of America’s largest manufacturing companies, John Deere, moving its cab manufacturing from the United States to Mexico, thus destroying at least 250 American jobs and families. Conversely, when Trump in 2017 simply heard auto-manufacturers would continue their production in Mexico instead of moving to the United States, he swiftly threatened them with a large import tax. In response, companies like Ford immediately ditched Mexico and added 700 new American jobs in Michigan.

During the Trump Administration, Biden viciously attacked Trump for his supposed lack of use of the Defense Production Act to shore up domestic supply chains as the coronavirus spread. In reality, Trump invoked the DPA over 100 times to fight the virus. Recently, with America’s 3 million babies facing baby formula shortages, Biden ignored the warnings of America’s largest factory, Abbott, and its 400 American manufacturing workers, when a contamination issue arose in February. Biden then took 217 days to invoke DPA, but he has failed to allocate a single cent to U.S. baby formula factories, and taxpayer dollars are being shelled out for foreign manufacturers instead. Conversely, when Trump addressed the ventilator supply crisis during the pandemic, he invoked the DPA in just seventeen days. A U.S.-based factory was the result, followed by an abundance of ventilators.

Biden’s errors have been compounded by his suspension of steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, which resulted in nearly $15 billion of domestic investment and the creation of over 4,000 new jobs, his threats to lift Trump’s tariffs on China despite having received 300 requests from U.S. industry leaders not to do so, and incentivizing the CCP to once again begin dumping cheaply-made solar panel components into our markets.

When Trump took office, he tapped Peter Navarro as his Chief Buy American Czar charged with restoring U.S. domestic industry. Trump then established the Buy American, Hire American initiative and the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy with Navarro at its head – which has since been eliminated under the Biden administration. This Made-in-the-USA strategy to revive American industry included Buy American government procurement, Hire American actions, fair trade policy, and tariffs. 

Trump’s Essential Medicines executive order helped reduce American dependence on China–-and other foreign countries–-for life-saving medicines and medical supplies during the pandemic by mandating that government agencies only procure domestically-produced medicines and medical countermeasures for federal stockpiles. This executive order increased business opportunities and encouraged job creation for American medical manufacturers like Phlow Corporation, which received a $350 million contract and added 350 jobs in Virginia.

In 2020, when the Tennessee Valley Authority announced it would lay off more than 200 American workers in exchange for cheap foreign labor, Trump’s Hire American Executive Order stopped the move, and prohibited other executive agencies from being able to do the same. Additionally, Trump directed the Department of Justice to investigate and reach settlements with American companies that illegally prioritized temporary foreign visa workers over qualified American workers. 

Trump’s successful renegotiation—and at times, withdrawal—from trade deals that undermined American industry such as NAFTA, KORUS, and the TPP, ensured that America had increased access to foreign markets and was not forced to compete on an unlevel playing field with cheap foreign labor. Moreover, the China Phase One Trade Deal forced China to make significant purchase commitments to help our agricultural and manufacturing industries, and crack down on intellectual property theft hurting U.S. companies. 

Lastly, Trump’s tariffs on goods such as steel, aluminum , solar panels, and washing machines reduced America’s reliance on the European Union and China for materials in key technologies for our military and critical infrastructure, and prevented countries like China and Korea from illegally dumping goods into our markets and putting U.S. companies out of business.

The Buy American agenda is nothing new. In fact, our Founding Fathers and many U.S. presidents were staunch economic nationalists because they knew protecting American industry also protected American families, jobs, and national security. For example, Alexander Hamilton—America’s most prominent trade protectionist from the Founding—advocated for a strong manufacturing industry through mercantilism to promote “true wealth and prosperity” of our nation. He noted that America needs to be “independent on foreign nations for military and other essential supplies” to bolster national security. 

Trade protectionism is similarly part of America’s DNA. One of the first pieces of legislation signed by President George Washington was the Tariff Act of 1789.  It imposed duties on almost all imported goods to support American agricultural and manufacturing jobs after the Revolutionary War. Other prominent American presidents levied—and loved—tariffs. President Abraham Lincoln noted, “When we buy manufactured goods abroad, we get the goods and the foreigner gets the money. When we buy the manufactured goods at home, we get both the goods and the money.” And – let’s not forget that President Theodore Roosevelt famously wrote “I thank God I’m not a free trader” as free trade “produces a fatty degeneration of the moral fibre.” 

These leaders understood that a strong middle-class and defense industrial base of blue-collar workers are essential to the well-being of our economy and national security. 

In sum, Biden is not a “Buy American” president. If he wants to fix our economy, its vast supply chain crises, and historically high inflation, he must invoke all aspects of Trump’s Buy American, Hire American agenda. 

Our country deserves better from its leaders, and it is imperative that every patriot—from factory worker, to policymaker, to corporate executive — fight to restore integrity, honor, and prioritization of U.S. industry to guarantee better days ahead.

Joanna Miller was a Senior Policy Analyst in the Trump White House in the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. 

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