President Donald Trump signed imn executive order that will prioritize buying American goods for federal projects and hiring American workers for highly skilled jobs during a visit to a manufacturing company in Kenosha Tuesday.
With the mission of fulfilling his campaign promise of putting “America First,” Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” order at Wisconsin-based tool manufacturer Snap-On. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Gov. Scott Walker and RNC Chair Reince Priebus also attended.
“Together, we are going to do everything in our power to make more products that are stamped with those wonderful words: Made in the U.S.A,” Trump said.
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The executive order has two main goals: To “aggressively” promote and use American-made goods and to ensure American labor is hired to do the job.
The first part entails fully monitoring, upholding and enforcing “buy American” laws. When the federal government will require bills or funds for a project, the “buy American” laws will ensure that domestic goods and products will be used.
In the past, Trump said the standards for federal projects have been “gutted” by “excessive” waivers and “reckless” exemptions.
“Countless jobs, countless contract lost to cheap, subsidized, low-quality foreign goods,” Trump said.
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Under the executive order, the federal government will work to strictly minimize the use of waivers and maximize “made-in-America” content in all federal projects.
The goal, Trump said, is to make sure American projects be made with American goods and keep foreign countries from “cheating” workers and producers out of federal contracts.
“For the first time ever, we will have a crackdown on foreign bidders that use dumped steel and other subsidized goods to take contracts from workers like you,” Trump said to a cheering crowd of factory workers in Kenosha.
As the Trump administration works to enforce these provisions, he said they will simultaneously be investigating every single trade deal that seeks to undermine them.
But reviewing the “Buy America policies” does little to keep the promises Trump made to Wisconsin workers, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said in a statement.
“Many people in our state are feeling economically strapped and a short visit to my hometown of Kenosha to shake some hands will not ease that stress,” Pocan said.
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In addition to “buying American,” Trump said the second part of the executive will focus on “hiring American.”
“American workers first, does that make sense?” Trump said.
The initiative to hire American includes setting in motion a “long overdue” reform of the H-1B visa program.
Under the H1-B visa, foreign workers are permitted to temporarily work in specialized fields in the U.S. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security approved 275,317 H1-B visas.
Under the executive order, however, Trump said he aimed to limit the number of H1-B visas awarded to foreign workers to prioritize getting American workers employed.
At the moment, Trump said he believes H1-B visas are awarded in a “totally random lottery.” Instead, he said it should be given to only the most skilled and highest paid applicants.
“[H1-B visa holders] should never be used to replace Americans,” Trump said.
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For far too long, Trump said the American people have watched factories close and jobs being sent to “other faraway lands.”
This election, he said, the American people — especially those from Wisconsin — voted to “end the theft of American prosperity.”
Trump said this action sends a powerful signal to the world American will protect its worker and jobs and ultimately, put America first.
“We are using every tool at our disposable to restore the American Dream,” Trump said.