U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on Thursday called out President-elect Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan for their silence on the proposed “Buy America” standard in a water infrastructure bill being considered by Congress. Trump used “Buy America” as a core message of his campaign but has been absent in the discussion on whether a standard for American iron and steel should be set in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
Baldwin’s provision in the bill would require that iron and steel used in water infrastructure be made in America, in order to support American jobs and manufacturing, and the provision was included in the Senate-passed version of the bill, which passed 95-3 with broad bipartisan support.
However, Congressional Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, quietly removed the provision from their version of the bill.
In a piece at the Huffington Post, Sen. Baldwin called on Congressional Republicans to respect American jobs.
“The time is now for Donald Trump to take a stand in support of American workers by calling on Republican leadership in Congress to support strong Buy America requirements,” said Sen. Baldwin. “Just one week ago, Trump said his infrastructure plan would follow two simple rules: ‘Buy American and hire American.’ I support that position, but unfortunately the Republican establishment in Washington didn’t hear him. They have removed my Buy America standard from water infrastructure legislation and Trump Tower has since remained silent.
“I believe that the iron and steel used in water infrastructure projects should be made in America and that taxpayer dollars should go to support American jobs and manufacturers, not be spent on Chinese or Russian iron and steel,” continued Sen. Baldwin. “There hasn’t been a peep, or tweet, from President-elect Trump.”
“It’s a good bill with bipartisan support,” said Stephanie Bloomingdale of the Wisconsin AFL-CIO. Her organization is encouraging citizens to reach out and contact Ryan to put the Buy America provisions back in.
National observers see value to ‘Buy America’ provisions
“Every dollar spent on water infrastructure generates more than $6 in returns,” according to Matthew McMullan of the Alliance of American Manufacturing. McMullan further noted that the Senate bill includes funding for Flint, Michigan’s water system, which has issues that need to be addressed immediately. The Alliance supports Buy America provisions.
“‘Buy America’ just makes sense,” said Don Hopper, a county economic development official in Alabama. “Manufacturing and basic industries just create wealth,” and enable other industry to succeed.