U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) reintroduced the Made in America Act to strengthen Buy America requirements for the federal government to support American businesses, manufacturers, and workers.
The Made in America Act identifies federal programs that fund infrastructure projects not currently subject to Buy America standards and ensures that materials used in these federal programs, including steel, iron, and aluminum, are domestically produced. When certifying that materials used in construction are “Made in America,” the bill requires the Department of Commerce to ensure that American jobs are supported.
“The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects that are not subject to Buy America requirements,” said Sen. Baldwin. “The result is American taxpayer money is being spent to buy foreign products and support workers in other countries.”
This week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, requested by Sen. Baldwin, showing that American taxpayer dollars are more likely to go to foreign firms when they are subject to international trade obligations. Specifically, the report found that when a U.S. government procurement contract is subject to an international agreement, such as NAFTA, the contract is three times more likely to be awarded to a foreign firm.
As previous GAO reports that studied the economic impact of U.S. trade agreements on Buy America laws made clear, those obligations provide U.S. trading partners more opportunity to win American government procurement work than American businesses receive in return. The Made in America Act would take steps to fix this by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made materials created by American workers and businesses, according to the Congresspersons.
More information on the legislation is available here.