HARTFORD-U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has received GOP support for his BuyAmerican.gov Act, a new law that would increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritizing the purchase of American-made goods.
Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) are both in favor for the legislation, which will allow manufacturers and other interested parties to identify contract opportunities and hold federal agencies accountable for abusing Buy American waivers.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is also in favor of the new bill.
Murphy first suggested the BuyAmerican.gov website last year in a letter he sent to President Donald Trump outlining five executive actions that the President should take to close loopholes in Buy American laws.
“Taxpayer dollars should support American jobs, not jobs overseas. This bill will strengthen Buy American laws, boosting Connecticut’s economy and securing our national security supply chain,” said Murphy. “I first brought up the idea of BuyAmerican.gov to President Trump in his first week of office, and I’m thrilled to see this bipartisan measure gain steam in the Senate.”
Under current law, federal agencies may use domestic content waivers to Buy American laws to purchase goods or services from foreign companies only in certain circumstances.
Such an example would be if an American-made good is unavailable or will significantly increase the cost of a product.
However, according to Murphy, federal agencies overuse this waiver authority and there is currently no government-wide system tracking the use and abuse of these waivers.
The new BuyAmerican.gov Act would direct the General Services Administration to establish a central, publicly-available website, called BuyAmerican.gov, to collect and display information about each requested waiver to Buy American laws.
“We streamline procurement and bring transparency to the process,” said Graham. “These important changes will bring a much-need system of checks-and-balances to the current waiver process. I am excited to work with President Trump and my colleagues in the Senate to make sure manufacturers in South Carolina and across the United States are prioritized when it comes to the bidding and awarding of contracts.”
In the last five years, U.S federal agencies have spent $47.7 billion on goods manufactured by foreign firms, according to Murphy.
He added that the Department of Defense has spent almost $200 billion on manufactured goods made by foreign companies since 2007. Also during this time, many manufacturing jobs have left the United States.
“We must do everything we can to protect and maximize American jobs, and that starts by ensuring that our tax dollars aren’t used to create jobs overseas,” Portman said.