Trump’s Buy/Hire American – Do as I Say, Not as I Do

Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order that provided that it is “the policy of the executive branch to buy American and hire American.”  Agencies are directed to “rigorously enforce and administer the laws” governing buy/hire American and minimize the use of waivers.  They are also called upon to issue a report within 150 days to:

(i)    assess the monitoring of, enforcement of, implementation of, and compliance with Buy American Laws within their agencies;

(ii)   assess the use of waivers within their agencies by type and impact on domestic jobs and manufacturing; and

(iii)  develop and propose policies for their agencies to ensure that, to the extent permitted by law, Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements maximize the use of materials produced in the United States, including manufactured products; components of manufactured products; and materials such as steel, iron, aluminum, and cement.

In addition, the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office are directed to “assess the impacts of all United States free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement on the operation of Buy American Laws, including their impacts on the implementation of domestic procurement preferences.”

It also instructs the Attorney General to suggest “reforms to help ensure that H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid petition beneficiaries.”  This is a significant issue to Silicon Valley which relies on H-1B visas to bring in engineers and other staff.

As CNN’s Jake Taper points out, however, the President has not adhered to his own standard as many of his own products are manufactured overseas.  While Trump called for a review of the H-1B Visa program, it did not address the H-2B program which Trump companies have used to hire more than 1,100 foreign workers since 2000.