Contractors can expect to see a new executive order requiring federal contractors to pay a $15 minimum wage and provide emergency paid leave. Additionally, this week President Biden signed an executive order pressing federal agencies to buy more American-made products and services. The buy-American order “will ensure that the federal government is investing taxpayer dollars in American businesses—both small and large.” (The White House Statements and Releases, January 25, 2021)
Employers of the largest federal contracting workforce are cheering the minimum wage increase. Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said Biden issued the minimum wage mandate because “he felt it was something that was not just right to do, but something that was necessary to do.” (Government Executive, January 22, 2021)
The new buy-American order enhances the Buy American statute passed in 1933 and the Buy America statute passed in 1982. It calls for the following:
- Closing current loopholes on how domestic content is measured and increasing domestic content requirements.
- Appoint a new senior leader in the Executive Office of the President in charge of the government’s Made-in-America policy approach.
- Increase oversight of potential waivers to domestic preference laws. (a GSA-built website will publish waivers publicly)
- Connect new businesses to contracting opportunities by requiring active use of supplier scouting by agencies.
- Reiteration of the President’s strong support for the Jones Act.
- Direct a cross-agency review of all domestic preferences.
- Support America’s Workers through Federal Purchasing. (The White House Statements and Releases January 25, 2021)
The buy-American order allows American manufacturers and workers to see how federal dollars are spent and where the money is funneled and used, providing transparency promised by the new administration. The higher minimum wage will empower the workforce and provide much needed economic relief. (Government Executive, January 22, 2021)
Questions concerning the new minimum wage or the buy-American order and their effect on future procurements? Give us a call.