CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois Congressman Dan Lipinski introduced the Buy American Improvement Act of 2017 to require federal government to buy more products from American companies. And he said manufacturers and labor unions are backing the bill.
The bill is said to “create American jobs, promote the domestic manufacturing industry, increase transparency and accountability in government procurement, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in the U.S. whenever practicable.”
“Despite the fact that too many Americans still can’t find good jobs, the federal government continues to buy many products outside our country instead of using our hard-earned tax dollars to buy American products and hire American workers,” Lipinksi said.
The bipartisan “Buy American Improvement Act” would expand the current federal “Buy American” rules and remove loopholes that allow some federal contracts to avoid the requirements. That means more jobs for American workers, according to Chicago Democrat Dan Lipinksi.
Could it also mean higher prices than if products were purchased from overseas? WBBM’s Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.
“There will still be a ceiling on how much more it could cost,” Lipinski said. “That is in the current laws, that will continue to be in the laws. Essentially that is saying, if a product is made in American and it only cost, if most, slightly more, than it has to be bought from an American company.”
There are provisions that continue to limit how much more the government can pay for American products. Lipinski expects opposition to the bill.
“There are those who say that this is somehow in restraint of free trade,” Lipinski said. “I see other countries who do this and I really believe American taxpayer dollars should be used to put Americans to work, rather than put workers in foreign countries to work.”
This bill also would publish a list of times when federal officials get waivers so they don’t have to use American products.
“We are pleased that Congressman Lipinski is introducing legislation to increase the amount of American-made iron, steel, and manufactured products used in U.S. infrastructure,” said the Alliance for American Manufacturing – a non-profit, non-partisan partnership, in a statement. “‘Buy America’ preferences create jobs and support U.S. national security. It makes no sense for the government to buy steel from China when workers in Illinois are ready to meet the challenge. Rep. Lipinski has been fighting for stronger ‘Buy America’ preferences for years and we continue to support his efforts with the Buy American Improvement Act.”
The Alliance for American Manufacturing endorses the bill and unions like the AFL-CIO.