10.24.17

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Works for Buy American Standard with NDAA Conference Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Senate-House Conference Committee works to complete the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin is calling for critical Buy American requirements in defense procurement laws.

In a letter to the conference committee led by Senator Baldwin and signed by 15 Senate colleagues, they write:

“As you work to complete the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, we are writing to respectfully request that section 863 of the Senate-passed bill, which eliminates a number of critical Buy American requirements in defense procurement laws, be excluded from the final NDAA conference bill. Doing so is a commonsense ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy that supports our domestic industrial base and our national and economic security.”

Section 863 would enact a harmful sunset provision on current requirements, eliminating them at the end of Fiscal Year 2018 and consequently opening taxpayer-funded defense contracts to unfairly-subsidized foreign competition, placing American jobs at risk, including in Wisconsin’s skilled shipbuilding industry. That’s why Senator Baldwin’s effort is supported by the Shipbuilders Council of America, the Alliance for American Manufacturing and the American Shipbuilding Suppliers Association.

Senator Baldwin fought against section 863 and offered a Buy American amendment to the NDAA. Unfortunately, the amendment didn’t get a floor vote so she is taking her fight to the conference committee.

The Trump Administration also opposes section 863 of the Senate-passed bill. Eroding Buy American requirements runs counter to two Presidential initiatives—President Trump’s Executive Order directing the Pentagon to strengthen domestic manufacturing capabilities and his “Buy American, Hire American” Executive Order to better enforce current domestic content laws.

In the letter to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, the Senators write:

“Eliminating these current requirements would open this section of the defense acquisition market to unfairly-subsidized foreign competition, placing the U.S. industrial base at risk, and have the additional effect of undercutting U.S. steel and iron producers because foreign manufacturers of these components do not use U.S. raw materials.”

Senator Baldwin’s letter is signed by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Al Franken (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeffrey A. Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary C. Peters (D-MI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR).