WASHINGTON, DC (March 5, 2013) In a growing show of support for “Buy America” policies — which promote the purchase of U.S.-made goods when spending tax dollars — Congressman Nick Rahall (WV) today introduced legislation to ensure Federal transportation and infrastructure investments support American jobs. Similarly, Senator Gillibrand (NY) last week introduced Senate legislation to strengthen U.S. manufacturing. BlueGreen Alliance applauded the bicameral push to expand commitments to American manufacturing that will rebuild the economy and create jobs in communities across the country.
“With gains of half a million jobs since 2009, victories in the American manufacturing industry have helped to rally the economy,” said David Foster, Executive Director of the BlueGreen Alliance. “Innovation and investment are fueling this economic engine. Today, we’re still not doing everything we can to maximize American job creation and economic benefits, but the priorities laid out by Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Rahall help to get us there.”
The Invest in American Jobs Act introduced by Rep. Rahall closes loopholes that have allowed manufacturing in major transportation projects to be outsourced by strengthening existing Buy America requirements for transportation investments, applying Buy America requirements to rail infrastructure grants, loans, and loan guarantees for example and by requiring Federal agencies to justify proposed waivers of the Buy America requirements.
Sen. Gillibrand’s bill, called the Made in America Manufacturing Act, creates a competitive program that awards states and regions with funding to support local manufacturers through low-interest loans to build new facilities. In addition, it will aid in the upgrading of equipment and the access to capital and technical assistance to develop exporting opportunities and to connect innovative small suppliers with larger companies.
Manufacturing jobs have high indirect job creation benefits. On average, each manufacturing job supports 2.5 jobs in other sectors, and, at the upper end, each high-tech manufacturing job supports up to 16 jobs in the US economy. These jobs pay 21 percent more in wages and benefits than the average wage, and they more often provide health, pension, and other benefits. Continued Congressional support of the Buy America statutes will ensure continued compliance with high environmental standards in federally funded projects while creating valuable American jobs.
“The bottom line is that Buy America provisions ensure taxpayers’ money benefits the U.S. economy, first and foremost. Our proud history of producing the highest quality products demands that we also have policies that also don’t sell our own economic interests short,” said Foster.