WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congress passed a critical water infrastructure bill that includes an amendment U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced that would enforce “Buy America” provisions and support domestic manufacturers. Brown introduced, and helped pass, an amendment to the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) that would ensure American-made iron and steel are used in federally-funded water infrastructure projects when available and competitively priced. Despite efforts to weaken his amendment, Brown successfully fought that a modified version of the amendment be included in the final WRRDA, which now awaits President Obama’s signature before becoming law. The amendment would benefit Ohio manufacturers like Clow Water Systems in Coshocton and Nucor Steel in Marion.
“For our economy to continue adding jobs, we must ensure American taxpayer dollars are used to support manufacturers and workers at home, not overseas,” Brown said. “I thank my colleagues for passing legislation that will strengthen our economy and infrastructure while benefitting Ohio manufacturers.”
WRRDA connects businesses and communities throughout the country with critical resources for maintenance, inspections, and upgrades to water infrastructure projects. Brown’s amendment would extend Buy America provisions, which ensure that federal taxpayer dollars spent on public infrastructure utilize American-made materials and labor, to water infrastructure projects. Currently, Buy America applies to federally funded roads, bridges, and rail projects but not water infrastructure.
Brown continues to champion the cause of domestic manufacturing and its workers. Described as “Congress’ leading proponent of American Manufacturing,” Brown is a member of the Senate Manufacturing Caucus, currently Vice-Chair of the Senate Auto Caucus, and was recently named incoming Chair of the Senate Steel Caucus.
During consideration of the Highway Bill, Brown successfully strengthened Buy America provisions for highway projects—closing loopholes that allowed companies to evade Buy America requirements by segmenting contracts. Brown also is the author of the Wear American Act. Current law only requires federal government agencies to purchase textile products that are 51 percent American made. Brown’s bill, however, would require all textile products purchased by federal agencies to be made in the United States. This would create domestic jobs and potentially benefit local businesses.