U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, D-Murphysboro, and Dan Lipinski, D-Chicago, on Thursday introduced the BuyAmerican.gov Act, to ensure that federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods.
The legislation directs the General Services Administration to establish a website, BuyAmerican.gov, to collect and display information about each request by a federal agency to bypass “Buy American” laws and purchase foreign-made products.
Manufacturers and others will be able to use the site to identify contract opportunities and challenge pending “Buy American” waivers sought by federal agencies.
“When American taxpayer dollars are being spent, every effort should be made to spend those in support of American workers,” said Bost. “I’m happy to work across the aisle and across the Capitol with my colleague from Illinois, Representative Lipinski, and Senators Portman, Murphy, Graham and Brown on this commonsense, bipartisan, measure to connect small businesses with federal contracts. This is all about growing jobs and investment in America.”
“Under current law, federal agencies are exempt from following Buy American laws if American-made goods are unavailable or cost-prohibitive. Unfortunately, federal agencies are too often abusing this waiver authority and there’s no way to hold them accountable,” Lipinski said. “This needs to change immediately. Americans want to see their tax dollars spent domestically to support U.S.-made products and services. We owe it to them to ensure that is happening and this bipartisan legislation helps achieve that.”
The BuyAmerican.gov Act has bipartisan, bicameral support. Senators Rob Portman, Chris Murphy, Lindsey Graham and Sherrod Brown introduced companion legislation today in the Senate.
In the last five years, federal agencies have spent $34 billion on goods manufactured by foreign firms. The Department of Defense, the largest purchaser of manufactured goods in the world, has spent almost $200 billion on manufactured goods made by foreign companies since 2007. At the same time, the United States has seen a reduction in middle-class manufacturing jobs that could have been kept in the U.S.