09.13.18

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Water Infrastructure Legislation

Speaker Ryan Fails to Keep President Trump’s Promise on Permanent Buy America Commitment

House Moves to Five Year Buy America Provision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) which was voted on in the House today.  

The Senate version of the water infrastructure legislation included Senator Baldwin’s permanent Buy America requirement, which earned President Trump’s support.  The House-passed legislation included no Buy America requirement.  In House-Senate negotiations on the final 2018 WRDA, the House would only agree to move from the current one year Buy America standard to a five year extension, which passed the House today. The Senate is expected to vote on the legislation in the next few weeks.  

“I strongly believe American workers should build our infrastructure with American products, and taxpayers' money should not be spent to support foreign workers. A five year Buy America standard is better than the status quo, but Speaker Ryan and the House failed to keep President Trump’s promise. Our American manufacturers and workers deserve a permanent Buy America commitment from Washington that rewards their hard work. I’m going to continue my work to ensure that we are doing right by them by making sure that America is buying what Wisconsin makes with a permanent Buy America standard,” said Senator Baldwin.

The last time WRDA was reauthorized in 2016, a permanent Buy America commitment was included in the Senate but Speaker Ryan and House Republican leadership stripped it from the water infrastructure bill that would eventually pass into law. The Hill reported that Speaker Ryan was “actively pushing to strip the provision from the bill” and did so after the urging from, “lobbyists for several large foreign steelmakers,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

On April 18, 2017, while visiting Kenosha, local media asked President Trump if he supported Senator Baldwin’s permanent Buy America standard, the Made In America Water Infrastructure Act. President Trump said “I do,” and also said, “I agree with her 100 percent.” 

Last week, Senator Baldwin sent a letter to President Trump calling on him to back up his words with action on a permanent Buy America commitment in final legislation that goes to his desk. In her letter to President Trump, she urged him to call on Speaker Ryan and the House to include a permanent Buy America commitment in the legislation that goes to his desk. President Trump did not call on the House to keep his promise.

Senator Baldwin has long-championed stronger Made in America standards to ensure that American workers and products are prioritized, especially when U.S. taxpayer dollars are used.

Senator Baldwin’s Made in America Water Infrastructure Act requires that 100 percent American-made iron and steel is used in water infrastructure projects funded by the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a federal-state partnership that acts as an infrastructure bank to help ensure safe drinking water in all 50 states and territories. This reform would require all of these projects to use American-made iron and steel. Eligible projects include improving drinking water treatment; fixing or replacing old pipes; improving the source of the water supply; replacing or constructing finished water storage tanks; or any other infrastructure projects needed to protect public health. Baldwin’s 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. She also introduced the Made in America Shipbuilding Act, which strengthens Buy American requirements for the federal government’s purchase of ships by expanding current law to cover all federal agencies, all classes of ships and substantially more shipboard components, including items made in Wisconsin.