Buy American Laws
Manufacturing has made the American economy the most vibrant and successful in the world. American manufacturers are known throughout the world to have highest quality goods, made by the best workers. These manufacturing jobs are the back bone of the American middle class, and have provided an economic ladder to millions of American families here in Connecticut.
Since World War II, manufacturing jobs have declined from 40% of domestic employment, to just 11% today. One of the reasons for this decline is the continued reliance on foreign firms, who exploit their workers and destroy the environment in the name of cost-savings. We can not allow the American worker to be caught in a "race-to-the-bottom" where we sacrifice our values and way of life.
The Federal Government is one of the largest purchasers of manufactured goods in the entire world. When the Federal Government buys products from foreign entities, it hurts companies in Connecticut like Ansonia Copper & Brass in Waterbury, which is the last remaining U.S. manufacturer of a specific type of tubing used by the U.S. Navy. Should Ansonia Copper & Brass cease to be a viable manufacturer, the U.S. Navy will have to rely on a foreign firm to meet our national security needs. This is simply an unacceptable consequence of an increasingly globalized economy.
Trade with countries around the world has been beneficial to both the United States and our trading partners. However, in the midst of economic recovery, we must seek to bolster U.S. manufacturing if we are going to continue to be successful in the future. The next wave of manufacturing will be in things like renewable energy infrastructure and advanced defense and aerospace material. If we do nothing, countries like China will surpass us in these sectors.
I have introduced legislation that will begin to re-orient our government's purchasing to more domestic firms so that we can build our capacity to be successful in the 21st century. The American Jobs Matter Act, would allow small and medium-sized manufacturers to highlight the fact that they are job-creators, and give them a leg-up on contracts that will bolster their businesses and communities. This will address a piece of our flawed procurement policy, which currently has no mechanism to assess the impact of government purchasing on American jobs.
To promote my Buy American initiative, I’ve teamed up with Republican Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina to form the Buy American Caucus in the House of Representatives. The caucus focuses on promoting American jobs and reaching bipartisan consensus on how to reinvigorate manufacturing. This is not a partisan issue. If we continue down our current path, where America's national security is for sale to the lowest bidder, we will surely lose our edge as the world's largest and most vibrant economy. We have the best and smartest workers in the world, and their government owes them the common-sense solutions that help them prosper in the 21st century.