There is a “Highway Bill” amendment in front of the Senate today that closes loopholes in “Buy America” preferences when government spends money on infrastructure. This is the Brown-Merkley Amendment #1819. Call your senators now!
The Brown-Merkley Amendment #1819 fixes the following:
- Transparency: Requires agencies to provide notification on a public website and a 15 day comment period before proposed waivers of Buy America preferences are granted – similar to current practice by FHWA.
- Reporting: Requires an annual report on the use of Buy America waivers for transportation projects, including justification for each waiver and the monetary value for each waiver.
- Closes the “Segmentation” Loophole: Ensures that public works projects receiving federal aid cannot be “segmented” to evade Buy America preferences by clarifying that Buy America applies to contracts carried out within the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) assessment – same language in amendment to H.R. 7 by Rep. Cravaack (R-MN) passed in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
- Works with Trade Agreements: Requires that Buy America preferences be carried out in a manner consistent with our international trade agreements.
About Buy America
Buy America provisions support American companies and workers by giving a preference to domestically produced iron, steel, and other manufactured goods in infrastructure projects that receive federal aid. They have commonsense exceptions that permit waivers to allow procurement of foreign product when there is insufficient domestic capacity, if the cost of the domestic product is unreasonable, or when the administering agency deems the waiver to be in the public interest.
This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.
Sign up here for the CAF daily summary.