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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) — a consistent opponent of U.S. Buy America preferences — is touting his support for American manufacturing in a new campaign ad.

In the ad, Warner highlights a 2011 article in The Daily Progress to brag about his bipartisan efforts to “bring manufacturing and tech jobs back to America.”

Warner and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) introduced the America Recruits Act, which would offer grants to encourage the reshoring of manufacturing jobs. The bill also states that Congress should act to “help U.S. companies create new manufacturing and services jobs in the United States.”

This is commendable. But it also set us up for disappointment when we reviewed the Senator’s record on Buy America.

When the issue has come to a vote, Warner has consistently opposed Buy America preferences, including provisions for rail (in 2011) and water (in 2013). In other words, he took the position that it would be O.K. for hard-earned tax dollars to be spent on subsidized iron, steel, and other manufactured products made in China or Russia — even when a cost-competitive U.S. option was available.

Buy America laws are a trade-compliant way to reward companies that operate in the United States and employ American workers. These provisions also provide an effective incentive for foreign companies to open factories here in the United States – providing a pathway to regaining some of the 40,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Virginia in recent years.

With an extensive career as a businessman, governor, and now senator, Warner undoubtedly has many noteworthy accomplishments to point at in his reelection bid. This includes the America Recruits Act. Unfortunately, supporting U.S. manufacturing companies and American workers getting the first shot at taxpayer-funded procurement opportunities is not on his resume.

Should Virginia’s 230,000 manufacturing workers – taxpayers in their own right – stand to benefit from the spending of the federal government on everything from bridges to weapon systems used by our men and women in uniform? You be the judge.

Leading up to November’s midterm elections, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is following how developments on the campaign trail could impact U.S. manufacturers and their workers. AAM is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates — our goal is to highlight the discussion taking place.