White House taps Commerce official to run 'Made in America' office


WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - The White House said Wednesday it is tapping a Commerce Department official to run an office aimed at spurring the U.S. government's purchase of more American products and services.

Livia Shmavonian is taking the helm of the White House Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) "Made in America" office created by President Joe Biden last year.

Shmavonian was at the Commerce Department's International Trade Administration and previously staff director for a Senate Finance trade subcommittee. She is replacing Celeste Drake, a former trade official at the AFL-CIO, who has moved to a new White House job.

Biden in his first days in office signed an executive order aimed at closing loopholes in existing "Buy American” provisions, which apply to about a third of the $600 billion in goods and services the federal government buys annually.

The order sought to make "Buy America" waivers more transparent. Government agencies issue waivers for some purchases using federal funding.

In March, the Biden administration issued a final rule to raise domestic content thresholds.

Under the prior rule, products qualify as Made in America for federal purchases if 55% of the value of their component parts are manufactured in the United States. The final rule increased the threshold to 60%, effective Oct. 25, 65% in 2024, and 75% in 2029.

OMB director Shalanda Young said the office "has played a key role in the administration’s efforts to boost domestic manufacturing."

Biden has repeatedly touted the increase of more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs since taking office. "We’re proving 'Made in America' isn’t just a slogan, it’s reality," he said last week.

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee criticize Democrats and Biden for increasing taxes on U.S. manufacturers with a new corporate minimum tax. Biden said the government would "make sure the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share of federal taxes with a minimum tax rate of 15%."

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Robert Birsel

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