Representatives Ryan (D-OH), Aderholt (R-AL), and Mrvan (D-IN) Introduce Build America, Buy America Act
Washington, DC – Representatives Tim Ryan (OH-13), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), and Frank Mrvan (IN-01) introduced the Build America, Buy America Act to apply Buy America rules to all taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. Currently, Buy America rules have not been fully implemented with respect to all federal programs that provide grants for the construction of infrastructure. This means American-made iron, steel and manufactured products are required for some infrastructure projects, but not all.
When Chinese- or Russian- made steel and other products are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers. The bipartisan bill would implement Buy America rules across the board – ensuring that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products for any federally funded infrastructure projects. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rob Portman (R-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Mike Braun (R-IN) today announced they are introducing companion legislation in the Senate.
“As we work with the Biden Administration to rebuild American infrastructure, we must do so with American-made products that create American jobs. This critical legislation will close the loophole so foreign companies cannot undercut our domestic industries on these big federal projects. That way we can rebuild our roads, bridges, and pipes, and revitalize our economy for hard-working Ohioans while we do it,” said Rep. Ryan. “American manufacturing has been the engine of prosperity in this country for a long time, and it will be key to powering our economy in the future”
“Taxpayer dollars spent on infrastructure should support American industries rather than be used to purchase Chinese - or Russian - made products. I have been proud to support American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products in federally funded infrastructure projects and this continued effort will help support jobs and businesses in Alabama and the rest of the country,” said Rep. Aderholt.
“I am proud to join with Representatives Tim Ryan and Robert Aderholt, as well as our Senate counterparts, Senators Brown and Braun, to improve and expand Buy America requirements in federal infrastructure programs. I am honored to co-lead in advocating for this essential legislation that will support our manufacturing base and good-paying jobs throughout our nation. If we are going to spend hard-earned American taxpayer dollars on American infrastructure projects, we must ensure that it benefits the American worker,” said Rep. Mrvan.
“We cannot allow foreign companies to continue to undercut our domestic industries. Without Buy America rules, we are allowing manufacturing to go elsewhere at the expense of taxpayers,” said Sen. Brown. “It’s simple: American tax dollars should go toward American-made projects that support American jobs. Period.”
“I’m proud to lead this legislation with Senator Brown because when the government spends American taxpayer money on an infrastructure project, it’s common sense that the materials used in that project should be purchased from those same taxpayers making those materials in the United States. We have the world’s best workers making the best materials we need right here at home,” said Sen. Portman.
Existing Buy America laws are extremely limited and applied to only a fraction of federal-aid infrastructure spending. Currently, Buy America policies are not adequately applied to broadband, water systems, airports, the power grid, school construction, housing construction, and many green infrastructure spending projects.
Even long-established Buy America laws are not adequately applied. For instance, the federal-aid Buy America law administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the Department of Transportation is narrowly applied to only iron and steel products due to an outdated 1983 nationwide waiver. FHWA estimates that these iron and steel purchases comprise only 4.8 percent of a project’s cost. As a result, foreign suppliers of commonly used materials – like cement, plastics, aluminum, glass, and lumber – have unfettered access to taxpayer-financed infrastructure.
Examples of programs with no Buy America coverage or inadequate Buy America coverage:
- Highway projects
- Airport construction projects
- Water infrastructure projects
- Civil works projects
- Resilient community infrastructure projects
- Housing and community infrastructure projects
- Broadband projects
- Energy infrastructure projects
- School construction projects
- National parks infrastructure and maintenance projects
The Build America, Buy America Act would fix these loopholes and ensures the Buy America statute actually results in the purchase of American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products for all federally funded infrastructure projects.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing has endorsed this bill.