Vice President Biden a lot like voluble Sen. Biden
WASHINGTON – As a veteran Democratic senator, Joe Biden was an opinionated guy. As vice president, he is still an opinionated guy.
Which leads us to our latest installment of “Biden watch,” in which the vice president says he likes the idea of including a “Buy American” provision in the economic stimulus plan. Some lawmakers see the provision as steering U.S. trade policy into protectionist territory.
“I don’t view that as some of the pure free traders view it, as a harbinger of protectionism. I don’t buy that at all. So I think it’s legitimate to have some portions of ‘Buy American’ in it,” Biden told CNBC on Thursday.
The House of Representatives approved the measure this week as part of an $825 billion bill to revive the U.S. economy. In the House version of the bill, the “Buy American” measure would require all public works projects funded by the stimulus package to use only U.S.-made iron and steel.
At the White House on Friday, spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked about the buy American provision and had a wait-and-see answer. Senate debate on the stimulus bill starts next week.
Gibbs said the Obama administration was examining the measure to see whether it violates U.S. trade obligations.
“The administration will review that particular provision and will make a determination of it … . It understands all of the concerns,” Gibbs said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Larry Downing (Biden and Obama in the East Room of the White House on Jan. 30)