WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said today that President Trump’s executive order to “encourage” Buy America rules for federal projects doesn’t go far enough. Brown is calling on Trump to require Buy America rules and to back the Senator’s bipartisan bill with U.S. Senator Rob Portman, which would mandate all federally funded infrastructure projects be completed with American iron and steel.
“The President has a history of making big announcements that sound great, but don’t actually do anything to help American workers. If President Trump is serious about protecting the U.S. steel and iron industries, he should do more than ‘encourage’ Buy America provisions – he should require them by supporting our bill.”
Brown wrote to Trump in 2017, before the President even took office, to tell him about the legislation and ask the then-President-elect to make Buy America rules a priority during his first 100 days in office. The President responded with a handwritten note, but has yet to take action.
Brown joined U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin in leading the fight last Congress to restore Buy America provisions to the water infrastructure bill that would have permanently changed the law to require the use of American-made iron and steel products in infrastructure projects. While Buy America rules apply to some federal infrastructure programs, many taxpayer-funded projects still lack rules requiring the use of American-made products. The proposed legislation would ensure Buy America rules apply to all federally assisted projects.
Brown also introduced legislation last year to establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law. Brown introduced the BuyAmerican.gov Act last year with Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) following reports that U.S. federal agencies had granted an excessive number of waivers to Buy American laws in the last few years. The BuyAmerican.gov Act would direct the General Services Administration to establish a central, publicly available website, called BuyAmerican.gov, to collect and display information about each requested waiver to Buy American laws. This new website will allow manufacturers and other interested parties to identify contract opportunities and hold federal agencies accountable for abusing Buy American waivers.