President Joe Biden visited the Lehigh Valley last week to tour and speak at The Mack Trucks operations facility in Lower Macungie.
All vehicles produced in North America by Mack Trucks start production at the Macungie facility, located just outside of Allentown.
Biden met with local union members at the facility. Mack Trucks employs 2,500 workers at the Lehigh Valley location and over 85 percent of them are members of the United Auto Workers union.
Biden’s remarks focused on the importance of buying American-made products and his intent to establish this policy within the government.
“Today, I’m here to talk about a commitment that’s sacred to me and central to our efforts to keep things moving,” Biden said. “It’s a straightforward solution: support and grow more American-based companies.”
The “Buy American” rule states taxpayer dollars should be spent on American workers and businesses.
Biden said in previous administrations the policy was not taken as seriously.
When it comes to vehicles purchased by the federal government, 55 percent of an individual unit was required to be made in America. Biden plans to change the requirement to 75 percent.
“In recent years, ‘Buy American’ has become a hollow promise,” Biden said. “But my administration is going to make ‘Buy American’ a reality.”
Biden also emphasized this policy will be aimed at including diverse communities that have been historically left out of government procurement. He said contracts will go to Black, brown and Native American communities.
This policy goes hand in hand with his administration’s $50 billion investment in U.S.-based chip manufacturing, the CHIPS Act, which he also announced in his remarks. A repercussion of the pandemic was the global shortage of semiconductor microchips, which has halted or limited production for many car manufacturers who rely on imported chips.
“We’re going to change the paradigm so working people (can) have a fighting chance again to get a good education, to get a good job and a raise, to take care of that elderly parent and afford to take care of their children,” Biden said.
Biden also received a briefing on Mack Truck’s electric dump truck that is being piloted in New York City and North Carolina.
“Today, I’m placing my bet on America,” Biden said. “I know you all are going to make sure it pays off because it will pay off with good jobs, long-term employment, the ability for America to, once again, reassert its role as the most powerful economy in the world.”