States across the country are taking up legislation to require purchasing decisions by state and local government to give priority to American made goods—also known as domestic content provisions. These provisions leverage taxpayer dollars to stimulate job creation here at home rather than overseas. Polls show there is strong bipartisan support for “Buy American” provisions when taxpayer dollars are at stake. ASBC believes that an essential component to creating a truly sustainable economy is to reinvest local dollars back into local economies. Domestic content provisions do just that.
ASBC, in partnership with the Alliance for American Manufacturing, shares the concern that too many Americans are still out of work. With the federal government unlikely to pass additional stimulus funding, new opportunities must be found to create demand, which will lead to new hiring and economic activity. Buy American provisions at the state and federal level put Americans back to work by ensuring that manufactured goods used in taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects and procured by government agencies are made in American factories whenever our trade laws permit and with protections to ensure that excessive costs are not borne by the taxpayer.
In Congress, a number of bills have been introduced to bring back good manufacturing jobs in America. The Airports, Highways, High-Speed Rail, Trains and Transit: Make it in America Act (H.R. 613) would create American jobs by setting stronger standards for goods and equipment purchased with federal dollars for airports, highways, high-speed rail, trains, and transit. The Manufacture Renewable Energy Systems: Make it in America Act (H.R. 487) would ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent on American-made renewable energy systems, including solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuels.
Domestic content laws, in various forms, have been in place for nearly 80 years and remain the permanent underlying law with respect to federal highway and transit infrastructure projects, various Department of Defense acquisitions, and other federal procurements. Many states also have Buy American policies. For instance, the Pennsylvania Steel Procurement Act requires that each state contract for the construction or alteration of a public work require the use of steel products produced in the United States. ASBC is calling on business leaders and organizations to support domestic content provisions in their states. It makes good business sense, and it’s good for the economy.
ASBC recently sent a letter to Rep. David Cicilline to express our support of the proposed “Social Enterprise Ecosystem and Economic Development Commission Act,” or ‘‘SEEED Commission Act.” We are ready to offer a strong business voice in support of this legislation.