WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced that their bipartisan legislation – the Build America, Buy America Act – to apply Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects, has passed the Senate as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
Currently, Buy America rules have not been fully implemented with respect to all federal programs that provide grants for the construction of infrastructure. When Chinese- or Russian- made steel and other products are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers.
Their legislation would implement Buy America rules across the board – ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products for any federally funded infrastructure projects. Portman and Brown introduced the bill with Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Gary Peters (D-MI).
“We cannot allow foreign companies to continue to undercut our domestic industries. Without Buy America rules, we are allowing manufacturing to go elsewhere at the expense of taxpayers,” said Senator Brown. “It’s simple: American tax dollars should go toward American-made projects that support American jobs. Period.”
“I applaud my Senate colleagues for passing the bipartisan Build America, Buy America legislation as a part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act. When the government spends American taxpayer money on an infrastructure project, it’s common sense that the materials used in that project should be made in America. We have the world’s best workers making the best materials we need right here at home,” said Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Because Buy America rules have not been fully implemented for all federal infrastructure programs, some foreign materials can be used to construct many taxpayer-funded highways, roads, bridges, and water and energy infrastructure projects. Portman, Brown, Braun, and Peters believe these products instead should be produced in the U.S.
For example, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Buy America requirements have been applied only to iron and steel used for structures. However, the FHWA has estimated that structural steel accounts for less than 5 percent of the costs of a typical highway project. That means the vast majority of materials used to construct federally assisted highways, roads, and bridges do not have to be produced in the U.S.
The Build America, Buy America Act would fix these loopholes and ensure the Buy America statute actually results in the purchase of American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products for all federally funded infrastructure projects.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has endorsed this bill.