Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) Supports the Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) came out today in support of legislation
introduced by Congressman Nick J. Rahall, II (D-WV), the Ranking Member
on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, that would
strengthen Buy America laws and would require Federal agencies to be
more transparent in reporting where taxpayer dollars are being spent.
“Our Buy America laws have been weakened over time by loopholes and other exemptions that result in more of our tax dollars being sent to purchase steel and manufactured goods made overseas. There are also numerous gaps in our infrastructure spending programs where a Buy America preference does not currently exist,” said AAM Executive Director Scott Paul in a letter to Rep. Rahall. “As a result, the American public has been shocked to learn that their tax dollars are increasingly being used to source steel and manufactured goods from factories in China and other countries.”
The bill’s introduction comes as Congress is in the midst of writing a new surface transportation reauthorization bill and grappling with ways to create jobs and improve a sluggish economy. Buy America preferences are the best way to ensure that domestic manufacturing companies and American workers benefit when hard-earned tax dollars are being spent on the nation’s infrastructure needs. According to research conducted for the Alliance for American Manufacturing, maximizing the use of domestic content with a Buy America preference yields a 33 percent increase in manufacturing job creation. In addition, polling conducted for AAM earlier this year shows that 91 percent of voters support Buy America policies to ensure that taxpayer-funded projects use only American-made goods and materials. Taking a closer look, support for Buy America was spread evenly across ideological, geographic, and political backgrounds – from 94 percent among Democrats, to 89 percent among Tea Party supporters.
The Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011 (H.R. 3533) would ensure that, when possible, all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used to build and repair our nation’s roads, bridges, highways, railways, and other infrastructure are produced in the United States.
• Strengthen Coverage. The bill strengthens Buy America preferences that exist for a range of transportation programs, including highways and bridges, public transit, high-speed and intercity passenger rail, and aviation.
• Expand Coverage. The bill applies Buy America to transportation and infrastructure investments that currently are not normally covered, such as railroad loans and loan guarantees, water infrastructure grants, EDA grants, and FEMA mitigation grants.
• More Transparency. The bill requires Federal agencies to be transparent and, through annual reporting, provide the public with an accurate accounting of the instances when Buy America is waived, the amount of federal dollars sent overseas, and where that procurement occurs. The bill also would require Federal agencies to post requests for waivers of Buy America preferences on the official Internet website of the agency so that the public can see and give comments. Before granting a waiver, the relevant agency must publish a reasoned justification for the waiver in the Federal Register and respond to any public comments. All of this transparency will bring much-needed accountability to the waiver process and finally let American companies and workers have a say before a waiver takes effect.
Click here to read AAM’s full letter to Rep. Rahall.