President Donald Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday aimed at furthering his “Buy American, Hire American" agenda, while visiting the headquarters of tool and manufacturing service company Snap-on (SNA) in Kenosha, Wis.
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The order will be separated into two sections, Buy American and Hire American. Under the “Buy American” portion, the administration will push forward reforms dealing with the immigration system—particularly the H-1B visa program—which then-candidate Trump promised to “end forever” on the campaign trail.
However, President Trump has softened his tone and the administration will instead attempt to rectify abuses of laws governing entry of all workers from abroad, according to senior administration officials. These officials said Monday afternoon that weak enforcement and loopholes relating to temporary employment laws for foreign workers allow them to come work in the country regardless of merit or skill. The administration contends this ultimately leads to less-skilled H-1B workers being paid less and consequently undercutting the domestic workforce.
The goal of this portion of the order is to create higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States, the White House officials said. It will be enforced by the Department of Labor, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.
The “Hire American” section of the executive order, which will be led by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, will “[usher] in new, more muscular Buy American policy,” the administration officials said. It will call for a comprehensive assessment of federal procurement, and a crackdown on weak enforcement of Hire American policies—including waivers and exceptions—among government agencies. White House officials said agencies will be held “accountable” for failure to uphold these policies.
The government will also allow agencies to take the impact of foreign trade abuses, like dumping, into account while assessing their ability to execute the administration’s goals. The senior officials said President Trump would consider pulling out of or renegotiating trade deals depending on the results of the assessments.