Buy America Works

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) became law in February 2009. The legislation contains Buy America rules that direct tax dollars toward the purchase of American-made manufactured goods, so that public investment supports manufacturing jobs in America, preventing the migration of such good jobs overseas.

Buy America requirements have the potential to rejuvenate established industries, create new ones and expand capacity throughout supply chains for small businesses. AAM Buy America Works report is a comprehensive summary of recent successes of the domestic sourcing policies. The report highlights such Buy America success stories as United Streetcar of Clackamas, Ore., that partly because of ARRA funding was able to manufacture its streetcars in America—the first modern streetcars to be made in the United States in nearly 60 years. Not only will the streetcars themselves be manufactured in the United States, but the project will create and support American manufacturing jobs for an entire supply chain of companies, small and large, both locally and throughout the country. For instance, supplier Miles Fiberglass of Portland, Ore., manufactures front and rear shell pieces for the streetcars. In 2009, it was forced to lay off 35 workers, but it then rehired 10 workers because of new business.

According to AAM Executive Director Scott Paul, “Buy America provisions enhance the job-creating effect of our limited taxpayer dollars. Studies show that 33 percent more manufacturing jobs are created when domestic content is maximized. The manufacturing sector has been disproportionately slammed by this recession, with more than 2 million jobs lost since December 2007. More broadly, over 5 million manufacturing jobs and 51,000 factories have been lost in the last decade. It is important that we preserve longstanding policies that create jobs here in America.”

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