U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on Monday introduced the 21st Century Buy American Act. The legislation would strengthen existing Buy American standards to ensure that the U.S. government prioritizes the purchase of American-made goods, Murphy said. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute said Murphy’s 21st Century Buy American Act could create up to 100,000 jobs.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Murphy. “Americans want their taxpayer money spent here and in support of U.S. manufacturers, not their foreign competitors. Our Buy American laws are outdated and full of loopholes. Manufacturers across Connecticut have told me that fixing these broken laws will help bring local jobs back, and my 21st Century Buy American Act will help do just that. Donald Trump campaigned on ‘Made in America.’ If we want to put our money where our mouth is, let’s pass this bill.”
Specifically, Murphy said the 21st Century Buy American Act would:
- Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to waive Buy American requirements. By closing these loopholes, agencies would rarely be able to use a “public interest waiver” without considering long- and short-term effects on U.S. employment. Current loopholes in Buy American laws allow agencies to exploit this waiver, leaving U.S. manufacturers behind.
- Provide resources for U.S. manufacturers of items in short supply to help them compete against foreign manufacturers for U.S. government contracts. By claiming an item is “non-available” domestically, or almost non-available, federal agencies can avoid certain Buy American requirements.
This legislation invests in new and existing manufacturers of non-available items or manufacturers who are the only domestic manufacturer of a specific item, ensuring that these companies — that are crucial to the nation’s long-term industrial base — receive the assistance they need to continue making items that are scarce in America. This is vital for America’s economy and national security.