Portman, Brown Introducing ‘Buy America’ Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Legislation to be introduced this week will give new incentive to ‘Build America, Buy America’.

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, are joining U.S. Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Gary Peters, D-Mich., in introducing legislation this week that applies ‘Buy America’ rules to all infrastructure and public works projects funded by taxes. The bipartisan Build America, Buy America Act would require any federally funded projects to only use American-made iron, steel and manufactured products.

“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,” Portman said in a release.

Currently, ‘Buy America’ rules are partially implemented for federal programs that help fund infrastructure projects, according to a release from Portman’s office. Thus, materials from China or Russia may be used to construct highways, roads, bridges and water and energy infrastructure projects funded by tax dollars.

“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,” Brown said.“It’s simple: American tax dollars should go toward American-made projects that support American jobs. Period.”

For example, existing ‘Buy America’ rules require the Federal Highway Administration to use only American-made iron and steel used for structures, which account for less than 5% of the costs of a typical highway project, according to the release. The vast majority of materials used can be produced elsewhere. The Build America, Buy America Act seeks to close such loopholes.

“American workers make some of the best products in the world. We should be doing everything we can to expand opportunities for them to build our roads and bridges,” said Sen. Peters, a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. “I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation that would close existing loopholes and encourage the use of American-made materials in infrastructure projects.”

Image: Federal Highway Administration

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