U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representative John Garamendi Introduce Reform to Strengthen Buy America Requirements for Federal Government

Made in America Act supports American businesses, manufacturers and workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Representative John Garamendi (D-CA) today reintroduced the Made in America Act to strengthen Buy America requirements for the federal government in order to support American businesses, manufacturers and workers.

The Made in America Act identifies federal programs that fund infrastructure projects not currently subject to Buy America standards and ensures that materials used in these federal programs, including steel, iron and aluminum, are domestically produced. When certifying that materials used in construction are ‘Made in America,’ the bill requires the Department of Commerce to ensure that American jobs are supported. 

“The federal government spends billions of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects that are not subject to Buy America requirements. The result is American taxpayer money is being spent to buy foreign products and support workers in other countries. We need to rewrite the rules so we are supporting American businesses and our workers here at home,” said Senator Baldwin. “My legislation will strengthen Buy America requirements for the federal government so we are supporting Wisconsin manufacturers and workers. Republicans and Democrats should all agree that our nation’s infrastructure should be ‘Made in America.’ I’m hopeful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will join me in this effort to make sure our government is buying American products and supporting American workers.”

“Sadly, every year billions of taxpayer dollars are spent on foreign-made materials for infrastructure projects. Our tax dollars should be spent on products and services made in America. That’s why Senator Baldwin and I have introduced the Made in America Act. We want good paying middle-class jobs for Americans and our taxpayer dollars to be spent here at home rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure with American materials and workers,” said Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA).

This week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, requested by Senator Baldwin, showing that American taxpayer dollars are more likely to go to foreign firms when they are subject to international trade obligations. Specifically, the report found that when a U.S. government procurement contract is subject to an international agreement (such as NAFTA), the contract is three times more likely to be awarded to a foreign firm.

As previous GAO reports that studied the economic impact of U.S. trade agreements on our Buy America laws made clear, those obligations provide U.S. trading partners more opportunity to win American government procurement work than American businesses receive in return. The Made in America Act would take steps to fix this by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made materials created by American workers and businesses.

Wisconsin businesses and manufacturers are voicing strong support for the Made in America Act including: Neenah Foundry, Grey Iron Foundry, The CA Lawton Co., De Pere Foundry, Green Bay Drop Forge, Walker Forge, Inc., Felker Brothers, Supreme Manufacturing, Scot Forge, Wrought Washer Manufacturing, Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, and Fives Giddings and Lewis, LLC.

“Wrought Washer is proud to say, 'made in America.' Tammy Baldwin’s Made in America bill supports manufacturers like us to continue to buy materials made in America and produce a quality product made by American workers. That is important to our employees and customers that value a strong economy which focuses on good-paying jobs that protect the rights of workers,” said Jeff Liter, President of Wrought Washer in Milwaukee.       

“Buy America shouldn’t be a partisan idea, but one that elicits support from folks on both sides of the aisle. Simply put, using American-made products for federal infrastructure products makes sense. At the C.A. Lawton Co. we’ve worked hard to build a reputation that our customers trust. It’s time for Washington do the same and step up to the plate and deliver for our nation’s workers and manufacturers and prove that commonsense legislation can still get passed. We appreciate Senator Baldwin and her staff for being willing to listen to the input of Wisconsin businesses and for being a champion of our Made in Wisconsin economy,” said Alex Lawton, CEO of The C.A. Lawton Company in De Pere, Wisconsin. 

“As a native of Wisconsin, I’ve seen first-hand that Wisconsin workers and manufacturers can compete with anyone in the world.  At Fives Giddings and Lewis, our workers are skilled craftsmen using the latest precision technology to deliver superior products to our clients. Our company built and installed machines in Pearl Harbor in 1951 to service our Naval Fleet.  At one of our nation’s most sacred sites, these machines that have supported our fleet for 67 years are due for replacement and a foreign company is poised to replace this American-made equipment,” said Steve Thiry, President & CEO of Fives Giddings & Lewis in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. “It’s time for Washington to wake up and start delivering solutions. Buy America is the right direction for Wisconsin’s economy and I commend Senator Baldwin for her leadership on this issue.”

“Wisconsin’s workers and manufacturers are some of the best in the world and can compete with anyone. Extending Buy America requirements ensures taxpayer dollars are being used to buy domestic steel, aluminum and manufactured products. At Scot Forge, we appreciate Tammy Baldwin putting our employee owners first and allowing us to compete with foreign competitors on a level playing field,” said John Cain, CEO and Board Chairman at Scot Forge in Clinton, Wisconsin.

The Made in America Act is also supported by AFL-CIO, IBEW, BRS (Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen), United Steelworkers, the Alliance for American Manufacturing, the American Foundry Society, the Wisconsin Cast Metals Association, the Forging Industry Association, the Non-Ferrous Founders Society, North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU), and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC).

In the Senate, the legislation is cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The House companion legislation is cosponsored by Representatives Harley Rouda (D-CA), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Mark Pocan (D-WI), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Cynthia Axne (D-IA), Gilbert Ray Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA) and Abby Finkenauer (D-IA).

More information on the legislation is available here.