March 15, 2021
Biden Asked To Suspend Waivers to Buy American Program
More than a dozen Senate Democrats have written to the White House asking U.S. President Joe Biden to suspend waivers to the Buy American program for contracts funded by COVID-19 aid.
Firms from 60 nations can currently bid for U.S. government contracts as though they were domestic companies, the senators wrote. Before contracts are doled out for the newly passed $1.9 trillion COVID package, the White House should suspend those waivers and “commit to our trade partners to renegotiate these terms as quickly as possible.”
“[T]his crisis has demonstrated the risks of long foreign supply chains,” wrote the lawmakers, led by Brown and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), referencing shortages for “crucial items like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), ventilators, and chemical inputs for pharmaceuticals due to lack of domestic industries in those products.”
Biden has pledged to narrow exemptions to the Buy America rules and review supply chains for critical industries including PPE and pharmaceuticals, but those have not been detailed much beyond the issuance of executive orders.