Hours and days after the January 20 inauguration, President Joseph Biden signed a series of executive orders reversing many of former President Donald Trump’s previous executive orders. Of the 32 orders that President Biden signed, the following may be of particular interest to suppliers.
Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis
- Jan. 20, Biden directed the heads of all federal agencies to immediately review agency actions taken between January 2017 and January 2020 related to the environment and public health. Importantly, the order specifically highlights establishing “ambitious” fuel efficiency standards and directs the agencies to review the SAFE Vehicles rule which establishes fuel efficiency standards under the Trump administration for model years 2021 – 2026. The agencies will consider whether to suspend, revise, or rescind the rule.
- The directive on fuel efficiency requires the agencies to consider the views of representatives from labor unions, states, and industry. This action was expected by the industry.
- The order includes a list of agency actions for review. This list includes the SAFE Vehicles rule part 1 which covers California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas emissions standards and many chemical regulations.
OSHA Procedures on Workplace Safety
- Jan. 21, Biden directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the Department of Labor to look at employer responsibility to protect workplace safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This order requires OSHA to issue revised employer guidance within two weeks and to consider whether any emergency temporary standards (ETS) mandating workplace requirements, such as masks or dividers, are necessary.
- If an ETS is found necessary, it must be issued no later than March 15.
- Jan. 26, Biden signed Executive Order related to Made-in-America and released a Fact Sheet. Highlights from President Biden’s press conference remarks are below:
- The President created a new executive branch position – a Director of Made-in-America – under the Office of Management and Budget to implement the Executive Order. Agencies are directed to tighten loopholes and OMB is instructed to review and scrutinize waiver requests to only be used in very limited circumstances “this hasn’t happened before, it will happen now.”
- Biden signaled major investments to modernize infrastructure “to rebuild our roads, our bridges, our ports, to make them more climate resilient as well as make them able to move faster, cheaper and cleaner to transport American-made goods across the country and around the world, making us more competitive.”
- He also signaled “historic investments” in R&D for battery technology, artificial intelligence, biotech, and clean energy to “sharpen America’s innovative edge.”
- Using the federal vehicle fleet as an example of loopholes in calculating content and there are provisions in the order to amend the current laws to tighten those thresholds. President Biden noted that the current domestic content requirements of 50% “aren’t high enough.” Remarking on the current requirements he said, “[Y]ou can count the least valuable parts as part of that 50% to say ‘Made in America,’ while the most valuable parts – the engines, the steel, the glass – are manufactured abroad.”
- He also indicated a commitment to work with our trading partners to modernize trade rules including those related to government procurement. Biden added, “To make sure we can all use our taxpayer dollars to spur investment that promotes growth and resilient supply chains.”
- Biden’s E.O. also addresses including more communities “historically left out” of government procurement. “We will use … the Manufacturing Extension Partnership … to help government agencies connect with new domestic suppliers across the country.”