New Hampshire Legislature Set to Vote on Buy America Bill on Thursday

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Apr 20 2022 |
Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Getty Images

Time to take action, Granite State residents!

The New Hampshire legislature is set to vote on Thursday on SB 438, a bill would ensure when the state spends taxpayer money on construction projects, that money is spent on American-made products whenever possible.

If you live in New Hampshire, you can help get this legislation across the finish line! Tell your local lawmakers to vote YES on SB 438.

More than two dozen states and the federal government currently abide by Buy America guidelines, and the Biden administration is even undertaking a number of efforts to strengthen them. Buy America enjoys widespread public support across party lines as well.

So, New Hampshire is a bit of an outlier in not already having these commonsense preferences on the books. Because of that, there’s no guardrails on government spending, meaning that taxpayer money is often sent overseas rather than being reinvested back into American workers, businesses and communities.

Cliff Thornberry, president of American Steel Fabricators in Greenfield, N.H., recently wrote in an article for the Concord Monitor that his company “bids on the kinds of procurement contracts that would fall under the proposed legislation, and over the years I’ve seen foreign competitors take an increasing share of them.”

Thornberry continues:

“This is a tough business, and it’s made unnecessarily tougher when our own government awards contracts to foreign competition that doesn’t have to operate under strict domestic environmental and labor standards.

“This bill would give American companies like mine the first shot at New Hampshire’s procurement contracts rather than companies that don’t hire American workers or pay American taxes. That’s not too much to ask, and I’m confident that most voters agree with me.”

As Thornberry notes, opponents of Buy America often like to argue that these preferences drive up costs. But that doesn’t past muster, as SB 438 would provide a waiver if there isn’t an American-made product available or is cost prohibitive.

What doesn’t make sense is to keep sending taxpayer money overseas when there are American workers and companies ready and willing to do this work at a competitive price. Purchasing American-made products will allow New Hampshire to maximize its investment. As Thornberry writes:

“When our governments, federal, state and local, award a contract to a domestic company, it creates work for skilled American workers. They take their paychecks and purchase groceries, hire plumbers and electricians for home repairs, have their cars serviced and spend their money locally in literally hundreds of other ways, all of which is economic activity that positively affects other domestic businesses and workers.

“Without such a domestic preference in place, our tax dollars will more often affect economic activity elsewhere.”

Continued supply chain issues and product shortages show just how important it is for the United States to strengthen and grow domestic manufacturing. Buy America helps ensure that when the government spends taxpayer dollars, it maximizes opportunities to invest tax money in critical areas. Doing so also grows jobs and boosts local economies. It’s a no brainer, really.

It’s time to get this done. New Hampshire lawmakers should vote YES on SB 438 on Thursday. If you live in New Hampshire, be sure to send them a message voicing your support of this legislation.