Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) is leading an effort to ensure the office has the money it needs to uphold Buy America provisions in the new infrastructure law.
More than two dozen Members of Congress from both parties wrote to President Biden last week asking him to fully fund the Made in America Office (MIAO), which was established earlier this year to “maximize the use of goods, products, and materials produced in… the United States.”
The MIAO was established by an executive order from President Biden in January, just two weeks into his term. Part of the new office’s mission is to ensure compliance with Buy America rules for federal procurement. In November, with the passage of the new bipartisan infrastructure law, the MIAO was codified into law, further demonstrating the Biden administration’s commitment to Made in America.
But without funding, the MIAO cannot do its job — which means that its work of reinvesting in American industry and workers will be delayed. This delay would come at a considerable cost, as the MIAO is expected to play a critical role in the policy debate around Buy America in the coming weeks and months.
“Funding for this important office is necessary both for the health of our US manufacturing sector, but also to the American public who depend on the timely consideration and completion of critical infrastructure projects,” the letter states.
“Supporting domestic supply chains has never been more urgent. The pandemic has shown another reason why we need to make American businesses a federal government priority,” added Higgins in a press release accompanying the letter. “We can’t always rely on international supply chains, particularly in a time of crisis.”
Alliance for American Manufacturing President Scott Paul also voiced support for funding the MIAO.
“We are encouraged by the bipartisan made in America policies coming out of Congress and the administration. Successfully implementing them will require funding the newly established Made in America Office,” Paul said. “Now, Congress must allow the new Made in America Office to realize its full potential so we can make this a reality.”
United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway echoed Paul.
“Streamlining the federal government’s approaches to procurement will require time and resources, but it will be necessary to ensure we’re spending American tax dollars to support American manufacturers and jobs,” Conway said.
Time is now of the essence to get the MIAO funded. With the new infrastructure law now in place, there’s upwards of a trillion dollars in spending from the federal government on infrastructure that has the potential to give a major boost to American manufacturers, as well as create thousands of new manufacturing jobs. But without the MIAO online and operational, there’s a real risk that those tax dollars can flow to foreign companies, wasting the potential to invest in the American economy in favor of cheap, foreign imports.
We can’t let that happen. It’s time to fully fund the MIAO.