New Jersey Assembly Unanimously Approves Buy American Bill

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Mar 26 2021 |
The Pulaski Skyway in New Jersey. Photo by hyrdropeek via Creative Commons

State assembly members voted 73-0 on Thursday to pass the New Jersey Buy American Act.

Good news to report out of the Garden State.

The New Jersey Assembly voted 73-0 on Thursday to approve the New Jersey Buy American Act, which would apply Buy American requirements to surface highway and bridge transportation projects that cost over $1 million. Under the legislation, all iron and steel used in these projects would be required to be “melted and poured” in the United States.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Sweeney (D) and Rep. Anthony Verrelli (D), previously passed the Senate in a 39-0 vote. It now heads to the desk of Gov. Phil Murphy for his signature – and we encourage the governor to sign the legislation.

Buy American provisions just make sense. There are American workers and companies ready and willing this work, and at a competitive price. When the government spends taxpayer dollars on infrastructure, it should do everything possible to reinvest that money back into local communities instead of sending it overseas.

And the New Jersey bill is especially important because it mirrors the Buy American law in New York, which became permanent in 2020. Given the close ties between the two states, having complementary Buy America preferences on the books in the Garden State will help ensure projects overseen by bi-state agencies like the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey purchase American-made products.

Verrelli and cosponsors Thomas Giblin (D) and Joe Danielsen (D) said in a statement:

“When we buy domestically made products, we are supporting our fellow American workers, investing in American businesses, reducing our environmental footprint and strengthening our economy. At a time when so many businesses face unparalleled challenges and uncertain futures, it’s critical that we support American industry and the skilled workers who manufacture high-quality products across our nation. We will be proud to see future New Jersey highways and bridges built with iron and steel made by American workers on American soil.”

Buy American preferences enjoy widespread bipartisan support among voters. Hundreds of Alliance for American Manufacturing supporters in New Jersey wrote their assembly members in support of the legislation.

Now it’s all on Gov. Murphy to sign the bill.