Sens. Brown, Casey, Stabenow Introduce Legislation to Help Ensure That Taxpayer Dollars Buy American-Made Infrastructure

Invest in American Jobs Act Strengthens “Buy America” Provisions for Investments in Transportation and Infrastructure Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today announced new legislation to ensure that taxpayers dollars are used to buy American-made goods. The Invest in American Jobs Act would give preference to American-made steel, iron, and manufactured goods used to construct projects financed by taxpayers.

“It’s simple: at a time when Congress is addressing the budget deficit, we need to make sure that American taxpayer dollars are being invested in American-made products. Our workers and manufacturers can compete with anyone and should be given a fair shot when it comes to providing the materials for our infrastructure and transit projects,” Senator Brown said. “Rather than using our tax dollars to buy materials made in Wuhan and Shenzhen, we should be spending them—whenever possible—on the same products made in Wilmington and Steubenville. With our widening trade deficit, we should be doing everything we can to support American manufacturing and job creation.” 

“Any time the federal government lays down a new piece of infrastructure it should be stamped with the words ‘Made in America,’” Senator Casey said. “Buying American-made goods will help rebuild our crumbling infrastructure and create jobs in Pennsylvania instead of China.”

“The idea that American tax dollars should purchase products and materials made in America instead of overseas is pretty common sense,” said Senator Stabenow.  “Doing business with American companies on transportation and infrastructure products is one of the simplest things we can do to create jobs and boost our economy.” 

“Buy America” language does not require the purchase of American-made materials, but creates a preference for them.  Under Buy America, domestic producers must still be competitive, even while they must comply with U.S. mandated environmental and worker safety regulations. 

Specifically, the Invest in American Jobs Act:

  • Strengthens existing Buy America requirements for investments in highway, bridge, public transit, rail, and aviation infrastructure and equipment to ensure that all of the steel, iron, and manufactured goods used in these projects is produced in the United States;
  • Applies Buy America to other transportation and infrastructure investments, including rail infrastructure grants, loans, and loan guarantees, and Clean Water State Revolving Fund grants;
  • Requires Federal agencies to justify any proposed waiver of the Buy America requirements and ensures that the American public has notice of and an opportunity to comment on any proposed waiver prior to it taking effect;
  • Allows Federal agencies to waive Buy America requirements if the Secretary or the Administrator of the Department or agency, as appropriate, finds that applying the Buy America requirements would be inconsistent with the public interest; the steel, iron, or manufactured goods is not produced in the United States in sufficient and reasonably available quantities or to a satisfactory quality; or the use of steel, iron, and manufactured goods produced in the United States for the project will increase the total cost of the project by more than 25 percent. The bill also requires that Buy America requirements are applied in a manner that is consistent with United States obligations under international agreements.

A recent University of Massachusetts study found that a 100 percent domestic preference on infrastructure spending increases job creation by 33 percent.

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