President Biden pushed a new effort by his administration Wednesday to boost American-made products in remarks at a factory in the battleground state of Pennsylvania. Biden highlighted his push to support U.S. companies, put more Americans to work in union jobs and strengthen manufacturing. His remarks came just hours after the White House proposed a rule aimed at securing critical supply chains and increasing the threshold for products to qualify as American-made. Biden summed things up with two words: Buy American, while speaking at Mack Truck’s Lehigh Valley operations facility. The President said the Buy American Act of 1982 is supposed to ensure that when the government buys goods, they’re built and purchased in the states. Currently, 55% of the value of the products’ component parts must be manufactured in the US to qualify. The new rule would raise the threshold to 75% by 2029.
Local, state and federal agencies are looking into a spike of fraud unemployment claims ever since Pennsylvania launched its new system last month. Some claims are leaving people with huge headaches. Officials say there is not a security break of the new unemployment compensation system. Instead, fraudsters are stealing people’s personal information and then applying for benefits in their name. Identity theft is on the rise after the Department of Labor and Industry launched its new site on June 8. The FBI, state police, local law enforcement, the state treasurer, and the state attorney general’s office are all investigating. State officials say the increase in fraud is likely a result of the increased attention that the new system received before it went live. If you think you’re a victim, file a police report and file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industry, notify your employer and check your credit report.
One final payment of $450 million was delivered by the PA Turnpike Commission on Wednesday to PennDOT for transit systems around the state. The payment is the final one mandated by Act 44 of 2007, with a total $7.9 billion in the last 15 years. The payments have driven annual toll increases and deep cuts to Turnpike’s capital plan to rebuild and expand its aging system. Now, the PCT’s payment drops to $50 million at the end of this current fiscal year thanks to Act 89 of 2013. Instead, $450 million for transit will come from the state’s General Fund. The turnpike plans to get back on track with its investments to completely rebuild and widen sections of its roadway. When it comes to tolls, they will continue to increase for the foreseeable future, but the annual increases that are based on current traffic and revenue projections will be reduced by 3% by 2028.
Geisinger continues to make it easier to get your COVID-19 vaccine—they’re now available at select Geisinger Pharmacy locations in central Pennsylvania. You can schedule your vaccine at one of eight pharmacy locations, which are conveniently located in community medicine and multi-specialty offices. One of the locations is the Geisinger Lewistown Clinic. The Pfizer vaccine is being offered at all locations, which is a two-dose shot administered 21 days apart. Appointments for a vaccine can be made through MyGeisinger or by calling 570-284-3657. The site pharmacist will administer vaccines to those 12 and older, with weekday appointments available.