Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda got its actual start Friday evening with the House’s passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The bill could not have passed without some Republican support, and 13 GOP representatives joined with 215 Democrats to push the bill past the 218 vote mark it needed for approval. The Senate passed the bill in August, with 19 Republican senators joining the Democrats. It needed 60 votes for passage in the Senate.
That group of 32 Republicans voted for much more than roads, bridges, and airports, however. While “infrastructure” as a concept has widespread support, the bill sent to Biden for his signature creates enormous carve-outs for businesses to outsource American jobs to foreign countries.
The bill will allow federal administrative agencies to issue waivers to companies so that they can bypass “Buy American” requirements if the agency considers them to be “inconsistent with the public interest.” The requirements to buy American can also be set aside if American products are not of “satisfactory quality,” or if using American products increases costs.
Once they are granted, waivers are subject to review only every five years. Commenters believe that the waivers will provide considerable benefits to companies that produce goods connected to the Chinese communist government.
Amendments were repeatedly proposed in the House and Senate to bolster strict Buy American requirements by controlling the waiver process. Those amendments were quickly crushed on each occasion. The liberal process of allowing connected federal administrators to grant waivers at their discretion made it through to the bill’s final version as approved.
As is often the case with lengthy federal bills, there is plenty of language in the bill touting the importance of “Buy American” standards. However, the waiver process makes those standards toothless in many situations.
Every American job in manufacturing supports 7.4 additional jobs in supporting industries in the U.S. economy. The bill continues the patterns of eliminating tariffs and offshoring American jobs that have marked the Biden administration.