Florida Lawmakers Aim to Buy American

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Jan 28 2022 |
A view of Florida’s Biscayne Bay, with the Miami skyline in the background. Getty Images

Measures introduced in both of the state’s legislative chambers would help ensure that when the Sunshine State spends taxpayer money on infrastructure, that money stays local.

There were a lot of bad things that happened in 2021. But hey, one positive was that several states passed or strengthened Buy America laws!

Texas lawmakers, for example, approved a bill to expand Buy America so it applies at public colleges and universities. New Jersey also strengthened its Buy America guidelines, ensuring that when the Garden State spends money on certain construction projects, that money is spent on Made in America products — down to the nuts and bolts. New York expanded its Buy America rule to apply to certain state-funded energy projects.

It looks like the momentum is continuing in 2022, and Florida could be the next state to act on Buy America.

Two bills making their way through the state legislature — HB 619 in the House of Representatives and SB 1336 in the Senate — would apply Buy America preferences to publics works projects to make sure that the iron and steel used is American-made. The federal government already follows such guidelines, and at least 38 states have similar laws on the books.

If you’ve ever come to this website, then you already know we are big proponents of Buy America. It’s just smart policy, as it reinvests taxpayer funds into American workers, companies and communities. Without Buy America in place, tax money is often spent on purchases overseas, including in places like China, India, and Russia.

And at a time when there is bipartisan support for industrial policy to boost America’s competitiveness against China and strengthen our own domestic manufacturing capacity, why would we send a single cent of taxpayer funds abroad when we could spend it here in support of our workers and companies?

Florida lawmakers should pass this legislation, and other states with similar bills on the calendar (looking at you, Massachusetts!) should follow suit.

Live in Florida? Click here to tell your state lawmakers to support HB 619 and SB 1336.