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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on President-elect Trump to Take a Stand for ‘Buy America’ Reform in Water Infrastructure Bill

Baldwin’s ‘Buy America’ reform threatened by House Republicans 

“American workers should build our infrastructure with American products, and taxpayers' money should not be spent on Chinese iron and steel.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today called for President-elect Donald Trump to take a stand against an effort by Speaker Paul Ryan and Congressional Republicans to pull a ‘Buy America’ reform she included in a water infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in September. 

“If President-elect Trump is serious about keeping his promise to build a made in America manufacturing economy, he needs to take a stand against this threat from Speaker Ryan and House Republicans,” said Senator Baldwin, “Stripping my ‘Buy America’ reform from the bipartisan water infrastructure legislation that passed the Senate will allow foreign companies to continue undercutting the American iron and steel industries and manufacturers in Wisconsin and across the country. American workers should build our infrastructure with American products, and taxpayers' money should not be spent on Chinese iron and steel.”

Senator Baldwin worked to include the Buy America provision in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). The Buy America rule—which requires the use of American-made iron and steel for U.S. water infrastructure projects—already passed in the Senate version of the bill with broad bipartisan support. However, it has been pulled from the compromise package reached between leaders in the Senate and House of Representatives.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal this weekend, Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans have taken a position on the Buy America provision that is at odds with Trump.

Last Thursday night in Cincinnati, on the first stop of his "Thank You Tour," Trump said his infrastructure plan would follow two simple rules: "Buy American and hire American. We're going to do it ourselves."

Last Friday, Senator Baldwin joined a bipartisan a group of 25 Senators in sending a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for her Buy America provision to be put back into the final bill to support U.S. steel and iron workers and manufacturers.

Senator Baldwin introduced Buy America legislation, the Made in America Water Infrastructure Act, to require American-made iron and steel is used in drinking water projects funded through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). After working closely with her colleagues in the Senate, Senator Baldwin was able to include the reform in the Senate-passed WRDA bill in September.

Senator Baldwin’s provision is supported by the United Steelworkers union and Wisconsin manufacturers in the iron and steel industry supply chain, including Neenah Foundry. 

“As we invest in our nation’s water infrastructure, American taxpayers expect—now more than ever—that the iron and steel products incorporated into these taxpayer-financed projects will be melted, molded, and made in America by American workers and the foundries and mills that employ them,” said Neenah Foundry’s Municipal Products Group Vice President Scott Hoffman. “On behalf of Neenah Enterprises of Neenah, Wisconsin I write to convey our deep appreciation for Senator Baldwin’s leadership in introducing legislation that will make permanent a procurement preference policy for U.S.–produced iron and steel products acquired for infrastructure projects funded and financed by the nation’s largest taxpayer-financed federal-aid program for drinking water infrastructure.” 

“It is no secret that American drinking water infrastructure is in desperate need of repair and replacement. Senator Baldwin’s bill will ensure that not only will Americans receive the highest-quality water infrastructure, but that the jobs created by this undertaking will be good, family-supporting American manufacturing jobs,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard. “We have seen the impact that strong Buy America laws like this one have in creating and retaining jobs here at home, and we thank Senator Baldwin for her leadership in ensuring that American taxpayer dollars go to support American workers and industries. That is what the Steelworkers want, what manufacturing workers want, and what an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Americans want.  This is good, commonsense legislation that keeps its focus where it should be: on improving American infrastructure and creating American jobs.”