Buy America Preferences Support Good U.S. Jobs.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) today expressed strong support for legislation introduced by Rep. Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to strengthen Buy America preferences, close loopholes, and improve transparency in the federal waiver process.
At a Capitol Hill press conference this morning, AAM President Scott Paul praised the ‘Invest in American Jobs Act of 2013’ for its emphasis on universal coverage for Buy America preferences, saying, “Our Buy America laws ensure that hard-earned tax dollars support good, quality jobs right here at home. But loopholes and exemptions have weakened these laws over time, allowing more of the public’s money to be sent overseas to purchase steel and manufactured goods from countries like China.”
The problem, as Paul explained, is that U.S. tax dollars currently spent on some infrastructure projects, namely those financed with railroad loans, Clean Water grants, and some FEMA grants, are not subject to Buy America preferences. As a result, companies like U.S. Foundry & Eagle Manufacturing Group (Florida), East Jordan Iron Works (Michigan and Oklahoma), Charlotte Pipe & Foundry Company (North Carolina), Spring City Electrical Manufacturing (Pennsylvania), Neenah Foundry Company (Wisconsin), Deeter Foundry (Nebraska), EBAA Iron (Texas), and D&L Foundry (Washington) pay taxes and comply with federal standards for clean air, clean water, and plant safety while simultaneously competing with subsidized imports from China and India that do not bear similar costs.
“Our current policy tells these companies and workers that we do not believe in them,” said Paul. “Instead, we reward those companies that have moved jobs and capital investment offshore.”
AAM believes that the Buy America waiver process needs greater transparency. The ‘Invest In American Jobs Act of 2013’ could provide much-needed accountability by giving American workers and companies a chance to comment on any waivers proposed by Federal agencies.
Paul explained, “Despite the increasing gridlock and partisanship that exists in Washington, we know that American voters want their tax dollars to be spent buying American-made goods for construction projects – supporting jobs for their neighbors and a larger tax base for their communities.”
According to polling conducted for AAM in 2012, 87 percent of voters support policies to ensure that taxpayer-funded projects use American-made goods and materials, with virtually identical support from Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
Additionally, research conducted by the University of Massachusetts – Amherst (PERI) found that maximizing domestic content in public works projects can increase manufacturing job gains by 33 percent.
“These are jobs that we desperately need,” said Paul. “Manufacturing has been one of the few bright spots in the recovery, and if we are going to meet the President’s goal of creating one million new manufacturing jobs by 2017, we’ll need an aggressive set of policy measures to make it happen. Buy America, however is common-sense policy and the bill being introduced today should be a no-brainer for this Congress to take up and pass.”
The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a non-profit, non-partisan partnership formed in 2007 by some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers to explore common solutions to challenging public policy topics such as job creation, infrastructure investment, international trade, and global competitiveness. For more information, please visit www.americanmanufacturing.org.