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Biden's 'Buy American' executive order 'fulfills campaign promise to strengthen businesses': Council of Economic Advisors Member

Biden Council of Economic Advisors Member Heather Boushey, joins Yahoo Finance to discuss President Biden's 'Buy American' executive order.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: I'm sure we want to talk more about President Biden's economic agenda, the executive order that he's set to sign in just a few minutes to buy American. And then, of course, the other steps that administration is taking to get the economy back on track. And for that we want to bring in Heather Boushey. She's a member of President Biden's Council of Economic Advisors. And Heather, it's great to have you on the program. Thanks so much for taking the time to join us. Let's just start with what we heard from Jess, just about Biden's Buy American initiative. I'm curious just from your perspective what you think today's executive order is going to accomplish.

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, I think this executive order is really important and it fulfills a campaign promise that the president made to the American people, which was to focus on strengthening American business and making sure that more of our supply chains are made here in America. So as we've seen so many businesses struggle over the past year with COVID, with the recession, and so many, especially, small businesses, this kind of step that ensures that we're focused on making sure that US taxpayer dollars, when we go out and the federal government buys goods, that they focus on making sure that those goods are made here in America by American workers and promoting union workers. This is the kind of thing that's going to help our economy, not just build back, but build back better.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Heather, can you help us understand what that really looks like in the real world? An example. Maybe the dollar figure about what this means. And how it's different than what the Trump administration did four years ago.

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Yeah. No, these are great questions. I really want to stress, the core to this executive order is focusing on actually doing this well and doing it with integrity. So core to the executive order is that we're going to make sure that things that the federal government buys through its procurement processes and grants have these rules around domestic content. These have not been updated in many decades and so we're going to take the time to actually do that right, make sure that we know where something is manufactured, so you know all the goods that we have.

We know that because of global supply chains, a lot of the parts that go into those are made in different parts of the world. We need to make sure that we have a system that can track that and that we know actually what the domestic content is. And to make that happen, this executive order is going to ensure that there's someone in charge. There's going to be a director of Made in America who will make sure that across government we're focused on this procurement process--


HEATHER BOUSHEY: --and making it real. Yeah?

ADAM SHAPIRO: It sounds great. How much? Much money are we talking about here?

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, so this is through the procurement [AUDIO OUT] and the [AUDIO OUT] that we spend on contracts may be affected by this. But we have to remember that this is also going to improve small businesses and jobs for American workers. So for the net economy this will be a net good.

SEANA SMITH: Heather, one thing we have heard from President Biden, the $1.9 trillion package that he wants to get through Congress in order to help the economy. I guess I'm curious because we saw over the weekend, obviously, it's getting some pushback here from moderate senators. What is your advice to-- how are you advising the Biden administration at this point just in terms of what needs to be done in order to get support for this $1.9 trillion package?

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, you know, here on this package, I cannot stress enough the urgency and the importance for our economy of getting this done and getting this done now. We know-- and you just had a segment on your show here about the different strains of the coronavirus that are now out there. We know that this continues to be a pressing problem while we wait for the vaccines to be delivered. We need to make sure that, in communities all across the country, they have the resources they need to address the health crisis and keep our economy afloat.

And so nothing could be more urgent. And of course, just a few weeks ago, what, I think, it was 44 Republicans actually voted to extend the additional checks to the American people, to top those up to $2,000. So it seems that there's a path to actually make this happen. But I just--

ADAM SHAPIRO: But Heather--

HEATHER BOUSHEY: --really can't stress enough the urgency here.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Heather. Urgency we get, but what does that path look like when Democrats are saying we should not be sending additional money to people who make 300K or more as Seana pointed out? What does it really looks like, that path?

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, you know, I think that the-- that the way that the path has been-- the whole proposal has been put together, it does a lot to make sure that it is incredibly well targeted. There are estimates from Columbia University that this package will cut child poverty in half over this year. So I think that it requires coming together and finding a way to legislatively make it happen. But I just really can't stress enough how important it is for the American people and American businesses, that we make sure that they have that relief ongoing throughout this crisis.

SEANA SMITH: Another real quick-- we only have about a minute here, but I know you've done extensive work to address economic inequality in this country. I'm curious just how you think this package and aid that the Biden administration has put forward so far, how you're hoping or what this could do to address that issue.

HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, I'm excited that there are a number of pieces of the package that are really focused on folks at the bottom of the income distribution. But we are also focused on making sure that we keep the macro economy whole. We know that the lower we can get unemployment, the better that is for all workers. So I think it's that one-two punch. The expansion of the child tax credit that's going to help low income families with children is just one example. But also the expansions of unemployment insurance and the like. These are going to go a long way to help families that need it the most.

SEANA SMITH: Heather Boushey, we really appreciate you taking the time to join us here today. Member of President Biden's Council of Economic Advisors. Thanks so much. We hope to talk to you again soon.