12.12.17

President Trump Signed a Buy American Executive Order in April, but Administration Report Remains Incomplete

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Urges Trump Administration to Complete and Release Buy American Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has sent a letter to President Trump calling for the Trump Administration to complete and make public a Buy American report that the President called for eight months ago.

On April 18, 2017, President Trump visited Kenosha, Wisconsin and signed an Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American. As part of the President’s order he tasked his own Administration to complete a report on Buy American laws and submit it to him within 220 days of the order, which was November 24, 2017. 

In her letter to President Trump, Senator Baldwin writes: “I understand that the report is not finished and I am writing to urge your Administration to expedite the publication of this now late report.”

Senator Baldwin has worked to advance Buy American policies in the Senate, introducing those that would help rebuild America’s crumbling drinking water infrastructure with American made iron and steel. Baldwin’s legislation passed the Senate last year with broad bipartisan support (95-3). According to media reports, importers of cheap foreign steel from Russia hired a Washington D.C. lobbying firm to encourage Speaker Ryan to eliminate or loosen Buy American laws for their own benefit. The firm employs former House Speaker John Boehner and several former top Republican aides. Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican House Leadership stripped Senator Baldwin’s legislation from the final water infrastructure bill. Senator Baldwin then introduced an amendment to restore her Buy America reform and demanded a vote. Majority Leader McConnell blocked a simple request to consider the amendment and obstructed a vote in the Senate.

While visiting Wisconsin in April, President Trump was asked by local media if he supported Senator Baldwin’s Made in America Water Infrastructure Act. President Trump said “I do,” and also said, “I agree with her 100 percent.” However, the President has yet to push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to act on Baldwin’s Buy America legislation.

Also in April, Senator Baldwin led cosponsors of the Made in America Water Infrastructure Act in sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Chairman John Barrasso calling on them act on the Buy America legislation.

In her letter to the President, Senator Baldwin writes: “I again urge you to prioritize the completion of the report. And, I remain hopeful that we can work together to ensure Congress strengthens our government’s commitment to buying American-made goods in order to improve wages, boost growth, and support American manufacturers.”

The Executive Order requires the report to examine the effect of international trade obligations on our Buy American laws. Senator Baldwin requested a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on that very subject, which she shared with President Trump on March 10, 2017. The findings of that report led Senator Baldwin and her colleagues to call on the Trump Administration to remove the government procurement chapter from NAFTA.

In her letter, Senator Baldwin writes, “I provided you with an advance copy of one of the GAO reports we requested. That report found that the United States opened twice as much procurement to foreign firms as the next five largest World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement signatories combined (European Union, Japan, South Korea, Norway, and Canada). Given the findings in the report, I wrote to you, along with eight of my Senate colleagues, to ask you to remove the government procurement chapter from NAFTA. I hope that the forthcoming report will inform the position of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during NAFTA renegotiations.”

An online version of the letter is available here.