Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) wants water infrastructure to be American-made.
Shortly after taking office, President Trump paid a visit to the headquarters of Snap-on tools in Kenosha, Wis., to talk up his “Buy American, Hire American” campaign pledge.
During that April 2017 trip, Trump endorsed Buy America legislation put forth by Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) that requires the use of American-made steel and iron in government-funded drinking water projects, ensuring that taxpayer money is reinvested in American workers and communities rather than being sent overseas.
And as the saying goes: The North Remembers.
Baldwin wrote to Trump on Monday to remind him of his commitment to the Made in America Water Infrastructure Act – and at a critical time. While Baldwin’s legislation was included as part of the Senate’s version of the water infrastructure bill known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), it is not in the House version.
That’s a big concern. The last time Congress took up WRDA in 2016, similar Buy America language was included in the Senate version of the legislation, but Republicans in the House successfully stripped it from the final WRDA bill that became law.
Now there are fears that could happen again – unless Trump steps up. Baldwin writes:
“You need to back up your words with action. I’m proud to have earned your support for my Buy America reform and now is the time to keep your promise to workers in Wisconsin and across this country. I again urge you to make sure that the WRDA legislation that reaches your desk includes a permanent Buy America pledge that requires that our nation’s drinking water infrastructure is built with American workers and American-made materials.”
Trump has long touted his commitment to Buy America. But as Baldwin notes in her letter, the Trump administration’s statement of administration policy on the current WRDA bill backs the House version. Trump also failed to include Buy America in his February 2018 infrastructure proposal.
Now is an opportunity for Trump to reaffirm his Buy America commitments, and including such preferences for drinking water legislation just makes sense. As Baldwin writes, it helps ensure quality control for everything from drinking water treatment to replacing or repairing old pipes, improving water supply sources, and other key infrastructure projects.
On top of that, Buy America will keep taxpayer money in American communities instead of being sent to foreign countries, giving local manufacturers confidence to expand their facilities and hire more workers.
“Our American manufacturers and workers deserve a permanent Buy America pledge from Washington that rewards their hard work,” Baldwin writes. “Right now, they don’t have that pledge and we need to change that.”