Background Briefing on Buy American, Hire American Executive Order

April 19, 2017 -

SENIOR ADMINISTRATON OFFICIAL:  Thank you for joining us today.  This is a background briefing on the executive order that is going to be signed tomorrow in Kenosha, Wisconsin — Buy American and Hire American.  The embargo on the information you’re about to hear today is 9:00 p.m. tonight.

Just to be clear, on this particular briefing, this is just going to be on background, so you can refer to them as senior administration officials.

Q    Last time we had one of these, you said the default would be on the record.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATON OFFICIAL:  And the default will be on that.  In this particular case, we’re going to do it as senior administration official.

Q    Can you explain why —

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It’s the Easter Egg Roll today.  (Laughter.)  No, in this particular case, we just wanted to get — generally, what we would have are individuals from the different agencies brief you on this, and in this case, because several of them are traveling but we still wanted to do the background briefing, we have administration officials.  That’s why we’re doing it on background, rather than when we bring out like the Secretary of Commerce.  Then we’ll do those on the record.  I’m going to try to bring you as many senior officials as we can, but in this case, where you’ve got individuals from the White House, and so we’re going to do this as a senior administration official.

Q    So the rule is going to be that if you’re Senate-confirmed, you’re on the record.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATON OFFICIAL:  No, that’s not a hard and fast rule, but in this case, that’s what we’re doing today.

SENIOR ADMINISTRATON OFFICIAL:  To follow up on his point, the lead agency for the Hire America would have been the Department of Labor, and in a normal environment the Department of Labor would already have its nominee confirmed and in place.  And the lead on the Buy American would be the Secretary of Commerce, who was able today.

That being said, so the President has repeatedly talked about Buy American and Hire American.  I’m sure you’ve all heard that used many, many times before.  What a lot of you may not realize is those are two very specific policy positions that have long been advocated by many groups that represent workers in our country, particularly by many labor unions and labor groups in our country.


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ASME.

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