WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced that a House and Senate Conference Committee included an amendment they introduced that would enforce “Buy America” provisions and support domestic manufacturers. The senators introduced, and helped pass, an amendment to the Senate version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that would ensure that American-made iron, steel, and manufactured goods are used in federally-funded water infrastructure projects whenever they are available and competitively priced. Despite efforts to weaken his amendment, the senators successfully urged the committee to include a modified version of the amendment in the final WRDA that the full Senate and House will now vote on. 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 committee leaders in the both the Senate and House for including my amendment that would strengthen our economy and infrastructure while benefitting Ohio manufacturers.”
“If we don’t make things in America, we won’t have a middle class in America,” Merkley said. “Today’s news is a huge victory for the principle that American tax dollars should support American jobs.”
WRDA 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 roads, bridges, and rail but not water infrastructure.