WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that President Biden signed the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act into law which includes their bipartisan legislation – 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. When Chinese- or Russian- made steel and other products are used instead of American products, it steals jobs from U.S. workers. Portman and Brown’s legislation 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.
“I’m pleased that our bipartisan Build America, Buy America legislation has been signed into law as a part of the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act because we must ensure that the coming infrastructure projects across America use American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products. When the government spends American taxpayer money on an infrastructure project, it’s common sense that the materials used in that project should be made in America. We have the world’s best workers making the best materials we need right here at home,” said Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“Today, alongside President Biden, we’re showing that we can work together to implement strong Buy America provisions for taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects to ensure foreign companies cannot continue to undercut our domestic industries. It’s simple: American tax dollars should go toward American-made projects that support American jobs,” said Senator Brown. “With these strong Buy America provisions secured, we’re going to create good-paying jobs for Ohioans rebuilding our roads, bridges, broadband networkers, and water and sewer infrastructure – and that will help Ohio communities of all sizes, all over the state, thrive and grow.”
Because Buy America rules have not been fully implemented for all federal infrastructure programs, some foreign materials can be used to construct many taxpayer-funded highways, roads, bridges, and water and energy infrastructure projects. Portman and Brown believe these products instead should be produced in the U.S.
For example, the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Buy America requirements have been applied only to iron and steel used for structures. However, the FHWA has estimated that structural steel accounts for less than 5 percent of the costs of a typical highway project. That means the vast majority of materials used to construct federally assisted highways, roads, and bridges do not have to be produced in the U.S.
The Build America, Buy America Act would fix these loopholes and ensure 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.