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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Buy America Standards for Small Shipyards in Wisconsin

Legislation would close a loophole to strengthen Buy America standards that will support Wisconsin businesses, manufacturers and workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today introduced the bipartisan Strengthening Buy America for Small Shipyard Grants Act to strengthen Buy America requirements for federal Small Shipyard Grant funding to support American businesses, manufacturers and workers. The bill is cosponsored by Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA).

While Buy American requirements already apply to the Small Shipyard Grant Program, there is a loophole in the Maritime Administration’s rules for commercially available, off-the-shelf products. Therefore, these federal grants may be used to purchase equipment that is not made in America.

Senator Baldwin’s legislation would close this loophole to support American businesses and workers like Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay, which employs nearly 200 workers and uses Wisconsin-sourced materials to manufacture boat handling equipment that is exported around the world. It would ensure that products and materials purchased with small shipyard grant funding, including any commercially available, off-the-shelf item, are manufactured in the United States.

“I strongly believe that American taxpayer dollars should be used to support American workers and American-made products,” said Senator Baldwin. “This legislation will make sure that federal Small Shipyard grants are used to purchase American products, made by American workers and businesses.”

“Buy America is common-sense policy that we need more of,” said Erich Pfeifer, CEO of Marine Travelift in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. “Wisconsin businesses make world-class products, and this bill will help prevent us from being undercut by our own tax dollars going toward competing foreign-built equipment.”

“This legislation will help Wisconsin marine manufacturers, and when our customers win, we suppliers do too,” said Jason Nessinger, General Manager of ExacTech in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. “We appreciate the Senator's leadership on this important proposal.”