Buy America 2.0 Act Seeks to Close Key Infrastructure Funding Loopholes

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Digital Media Manager, AAM

Infrastructure Week 2019 concluded last week without any big infrastructure announcements — no surprise there. However, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are scheduled to meet with President Trump on Wednesday to deal with financing for a proposed $2 trillion investment in infrastructure.

Without a doubt, our nation’s deteriorating bridges, roads, water systems and transit are desperately in need of this investment. Indeed, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a D+ on its 2017 report card. And Americans agree that it’s well past time that our government concentrate on solutions — recent polling data finds that 81% of likely voters consider infrastructure investment to be a top policy priority.

But critical to the success of any infrastructure investment is the return of taxpayer dollars to America’s workers and communities rather than being sent overseas. Though current Buy America legislation mandates federally funded infrastructure projects utilize goods and materials from domestic sources, loopholes remain.

In an effort to strengthen Buy America and close these loopholes, Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) introduced the Buy America 2.0 Act in the midst of this year’s Infrastructure Week.

“In America, our infrastructure is crumbling, and so is our middle class,” Boyle said. “When Congress moves to rebuild our infrastructure from our roads to our electric grid, we must do so in a way that boosts American workers and manufacturers, creating broad-based economic growth. That means using the high-quality U.S. steel, iron, and other materials made by hardworking Americans. The Buy America 2.0 Act is the only way to make sure that our federal investment in rebuilding our infrastructure is an investment in rebuilding the American Dream, too.”

Buy America 2.0 would extend Buy America domestic sourcing requirements to aviation and public transportation, foreign infiltration of which has recently presented alarming security risks. The bill already has attracted nearly two dozen cosponsors.

Despite President Trump’s “Buy American and Hire American” campaign promises, his executive orders so far have failed to offer any true mandates, encouraging the use of American-made materials rather than requiring it.  

Time will tell if Trump can finally put action to his rhetoric when it comes to infrastructure, but he’d be wise to attend to the concerns of the vast majorities of likely voters of both parties who support Buy America preferences for federally funded infrastructure projects — 80% of likely voters support Buy America, according to recent polling. Buy America 2.0 and similar bills are clearly aligned with voters’ wishes.

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Reposted from AAM
Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work