WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will give a major speech on “Buy American, Hire American” as he signs a new Executive Order at Snap-On Tools in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district — but Ryan is away on a congressional delegation in Europe… an Administration official telling Breitbart News that their schedules simply “did not mesh on this.”
In 2015, Rep. Paul Ryan held a Congressional listening session at Snap-On, but the now-Speaker of the House won’t be able to make Trump’s trip to the Wisconsin tool manufacturer.
Asked if there was any reason that the event was taking place while Ryan was out of the country, an Administration official told Breitbart News:
There is no reason for that, he is happens to be on a codel. We were trying to coordinate, this was a, this, just, the President’s schedule and the Speaker’s schedule did not mesh on this. I have seen the copy of the text, he’s going to thank the Speaker in the text to make sure that that question isn’t asked, but I am here to tell you it was just scheduling.
Snap-On’s headquarters is located in Kenosha which is also the hometown of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who according to the same official, is expected to be in attendance.
Senior administration officials told reporters on Monday afternoon that Trump’s speech will focus on buying American products and hiring American workers and the erosion of these longstanding policies.
One official went so far as to call “Buy American” the administration’s highest priority when it comes to spending American taxpayer dollars.
Officials drew a clear distinction between “Buy American” and “Hire American”. They also made a distinction between the problems of fraud and abuse in the guest worker system. “Buy American refers to a set of procurement laws about how goods and manufactured parts are obtained and how they’re used if federal projects or federally funded projects and Hire American generally refers to the body of law and policy concerning how our immigration, visa and guest worker programs are operated to ensure proper protections for American workers.”
One official emphasized the great dilution of such policies in the United States and the resulting lost job opportunities for American workers. The official said just the acknowledgment of the problem is remarkable and represents a fairly historic event.
The President’s new Executive Order will “call for the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States.”
Four agencies will be primarily involved on the “Hire American” side: the Department of Labor, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security and Department of State. These agencies will be tasked with taking prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse in the immigration system in order to protect workers in the United States.
The order includes a specific clause for the H1-B visa program that calls on the four agencies to put forward reforms that ensure that visas are awarded to the most skilled or highest paid applicants. One suggestion involved changing the H1-B lottery system, which one official said disadvantages master’s degree holders.
“About 80 percent of H1-B workers are paid less than the median wage in their fields,” one official stated.
Some reforms will take place administratively and some will have to be pursued legislatively, one official clarified.
A second official spoke on the Buy American portion of the order, telling reporters that agencies will be held strictly accountable for these policies and will be required to complete top-to-bottom performance reviews including assessments of their use of waivers and exceptions. The official continued, “President Trump has tasked the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross with revealing all the agency findings and submitting a report to his desk within 220 days. This report and its recommendations will serve as a blueprint for additional executive and regulatory actions to further strengthen Buy American as well as guide possible legislative proposals.”
The official was clear that one objective of the order is to “maximize the use of domestic content and minimize the granting of waivers.” One official stated that waivers may be properly renegotiated or revoked.
The officials said that some free trade agreements have weakened Buy American laws, putting America at a disadvantage. One official stated that agreements will be reviewed to determine whether these agreements meet the standard of being fair and reciprocal for the U.S. The U.S. will reserve the right to renegotiate these deals.
The officials emphasized and produced evidence of bipartisan support for both the Buy American and Hire American objectives. November statistics produced by the Mellman Group showed 60-74 percent support among Clinton voters, Trump voters, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents for requiring all taxpayer-funded construction and manufacturing to use American-made goods whenever possible. Of the 1,200 surveyed in regards to the Hire American portion of the order, 71-79 percent of Clinton voters, Trump voters, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents favored employing “American workers” over “Built by low bidder.”
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