Democratic Senator Calls on President Trump to Keep His Buy America Promise

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Shortly after taking office, President Trump paid a visit to the headquarters of Snap-on tools in Kenosha, Wis., to talk up his “Buy American, Hire American” campaign pledge.

During that April 2017 trip, Trump endorsed Buy America legislation put forth by Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) that requires the use of American-made steel and iron in government-funded drinking water projects, ensuring that taxpayer money is reinvested in American workers and communities rather than being sent overseas.

And as the saying goes: The North Remembers.

Baldwin wrote to Trump on Monday to remind him of his commitment to the Made in America Water Infrastructure Act – and at a critical time. While Baldwin’s legislation was included as part of the Senate’s version of the water infrastructure bill known as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), it is not in the House version.

That’s a big concern. The last time Congress took up WRDA in 2016, similar Buy America language was included in the Senate version of the legislation, but Republicans in the House successfully stripped it from the final WRDA bill that became law.

Now there are fears that could happen again – unless Trump steps up. Baldwin writes:

“You need to back up your words with action. I’m proud to have earned your support for my Buy America reform and now is the time to keep your promise to workers in Wisconsin and across this country. I again urge you to make sure that the WRDA legislation that reaches your desk includes a permanent Buy America pledge that requires that our nation’s drinking water infrastructure is built with American workers and American-made materials.”

Trump has long touted his commitment to Buy America. But as Baldwin notes in her letter, the Trump administration’s statement of administration policy on the current WRDA bill backs the House version. Trump also failed to include Buy America in his February 2018 infrastructure proposal.

Now is an opportunity for Trump to reaffirm his Buy America commitments, and including such preferences for drinking water legislation just makes sense. As Baldwin writes, it helps ensure quality control for everything from drinking water treatment to replacing or repairing old pipes, improving water supply sources, and other key infrastructure projects.

On top of that, Buy America will keep taxpayer money in American communities instead of being sent to foreign countries, giving local manufacturers confidence to expand their facilities and hire more workers.

“Our American manufacturers and workers deserve a permanent Buy America pledge from Washington that rewards their hard work,” Baldwin writes. “Right now, they don’t have that pledge and we need to change that.”

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

A Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

From the AFL-CIO

This week, labor leaders from across the country descended on New Orleans to map out the path ahead for our movement. From trade and public education to equal pay and paid leave to back pay for federal contract workers and bargaining power for all, the AFL-CIO Executive Council tackled the issues that will define working people’s fight for economic justice in 2019 and beyond.

Sending waves through Washington yesterday, the Executive Council’s most notable decision was its announcement that, “if the administration insists on a premature vote on the new NAFTA in its current form, we will have no choice but to oppose it.” Here are a few highlights from the statement:

  • Trade policy must be judged by whether it leads to a just, inclusive and sustainable economy....By that measure, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which has driven the outsourcing of so many good jobs, has been a catastrophic failure. More than 850,000 U.S. jobs were shipped overseas under NAFTA between 1993 and 2013.
  • By design, NAFTA distorted power relationships in favor of global employers over workers, weakened worker bargaining power and encouraged the de-industrialization of the U.S. economy.
  • After a quarter-century of this race to the bottom, workers in all three NAFTA countries find it more difficult to form unions and negotiate collective bargaining agreements.
  • The NAFTA renegotiation requires strong labor rights provisions and strong enforcement provisions that as of today are not yet in the agreement.
  • The current effort by the business community to pass the new NAFTA is premature, and if it continues, we will be forced to mobilize to defeat it, just as we mobilized to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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New NAFTA Must Create an Economy for All

New NAFTA Must Create an Economy for All