Joe Biden Proposes a $400 Billion Buy America Procurement Program

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is talking Buy America. | Creative Commons

Economic plan also calls on reshoring medical supply chains in the wake of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, as COVID-19 testing sites and healthcare workers across the country raised the alarm about the dwindling stockpiles of testing and personal protective equipment, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden released the outline of a plan to reshore supply chains for in-demand medical items and other critical products.

On Thursday, the Biden camp went a big step further and released a comprehensive manufacturing policy proposal. And let me tell you, folks, it ain’t no small potatoes: It includes a $400 billion commitment to a Buy America procurement program and a $300 billion budget for research and development into next-generation industrial technology. With it, Biden says he can create 5 million American jobs.  

This is a huge proposed investment in domestic industry and a lofty goal, and it’s a key pillar of Biden’s wider economic policy platform that is being rolled out over the summer.

We think identifying weakened supply chains and spending to strengthen and reshore them is a great idea, as we laid out in this video a few months back.

We also think a huge Buy America commitment is a great idea too – just as it was a great idea when President Trump proposed similar policies. But Trump largely hasn’t followed through with those plans, as infighting has raged between the “globalists” and “nationalists” on his economic policy team.

Here’s a good example of that: An executive order prepared by trade adviser Peter Navarro months ago that would boost domestic production of medical supplies has been held up because other senior officials feel it would disrupt existing supply chains … that are already unconscionably thin, as an internal Federal Emergency Management Agency memo reveals.

Trump administration officials – at least those that could be called “economic nationalists” – are reportedly really steamed that the Biden campaign released this plan before they were able to get Navarro’s executive order out the door:

I’m sure they’ll work it out among themselves; Trump is, as always, laser-focused on getting the coronavirus under control and the economy back on track. In any case, we’ll be watching as Biden’s manufacturing policies are analyzed in the coming weeks.