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Biden to require US-made steel, iron for infrastructure

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Biden administration is taking a key step to ensuring that federal dollars will support United States (US) manufacturing – issuing requirements for how projects funded by the USD1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package source their construction material.

The guidance being issued yesterday requires that the material purchased – whether it’s for a bridge, a highway, a water pipe or broadband Internet – be produced within the US, 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 US manufacturing capacity increases.

“There are going to be additional opportunities for good jobs in the manufacturing sector,” said director of Made in America at the White House Office of Management and Budget Celeste Drake.

“And as we’re looking at boosting American content, that means big corporations are going to create opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises in the US as supply chains are partially re-shored to try to meet the content standards.”

President Joe Biden has made such guidance a cornerstone for judging his record ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

The Democratic president said that he can leverage federal spending to create more US factory jobs and reduce the reliance on China and other nations with geopolitical interests that diverge from America’s.

As Biden faces inflation at a 40-year high, he is betting that more domestic production will ultimately reduce price pressures, a response to Republican attacks that his USD1.9-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 on Thursday in Greensboro, North Carolina. “It takes a federal government that doesn’t just give lip service to buying American but actually takes action.”

US President Joe Biden. PHOTO: AP