U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) supports the "Buy America" provision that his leadership in the House has deleted from an infrastructure bill, according to a spokesman.
"Congressman Latta supports keeping the 'buy America' provision in WRDA to ensure that tax dollars are being used to purchase American products, not goods from foreign competitors," said Latta spokesman Drew Griffin in a response to a question emailed Monday by The Blade. "This provision means that improving our infrastructure comes with the added benefit of supporting American jobs at the same time."
The provision requiring the use of American-made steel and iron in a federal infrastructure project was removed from the House version of the bill and was sent back to the Senate where it was already approved.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) and Tim Walberg (R., Tipton) have not responded to a Blade question on the issue.
U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) tweeted:
US infrastructure should be built w/US products that support US jobs. Why won't @SpeakerRyan support this? http://www.wsj.com/articles/water-bills-buy-american-provision-sparks-some-gop-concerns-1480709387 … via
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) blasted the deletion of the proposed rule:
“By stripping meaningful Buy America rules from the water infrastructure bill, Washington leadership is choosing China and Russia over Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This was the first major test of whether Washington establishment Republicans would live up to President-elect Trump’s promises to put American products and American workers first – they failed, and American iron and steel workers will pay the price.”
The Brown office said that, " the original Buy America rule in the Senate bill would have permanently amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to require American-made steel and iron be used in infrastructure projects funded by the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Instead, Republican leaders stripped that language and replaced it with a one-year provision that is already in effect and does nothing to further ensure American steel and iron will be used in water infrastructure projects moving forward."
Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who supported the provision in the Senate, said:
“I am disappointed that the Senate Buy America provision was not accepted in the Water Resources Development Act conference report. We must ensure that tax dollars will continue to be invested in America, maximizing American jobs. Provisions like this one have already increased production, jobs, and capital investment in the steel industry, and it is critical that we continue policies that simultaneously improve our infrastructure and our economy.”
Following is from my earlier post on this issue:
Ohio's two U.S. senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, are joining forces to pressure the Republican majority in the House to require the use of American-made steel and iron in an infrastructure bill.
Portman and Brown co-signed a letter calling on House and Senate leaders to restore the "Buy America" provision after it was removed from a compromise Water Resources Development Act bill in the House by Republican Speaker Paul Ryan. The Senate already approved the measure.
The letter said that "The American people spoke clearly in this past election that they want leaders who fight for the working class and who advance policies that create more jobs and grow the U.S. manufacturing sector."
Brown and Portman's letter was co-signed by 23 colleagues. Portman was the only Republican signer.
President-elect Donald Trump has said he wants an infrastructure spending campaign. In his speech Thursday night at a "thank you" rally in Cincinnati, Mr. Trump endorsed the concept of favoring American-made products.
“We will have simple rules when it comes to this massive rebuilding effort. Buy American and hire American. We can do it ourselves and that will be our new mantra," he said.
“American tax dollars shouldn’t be spent on Chinese steel. American infrastructure should be built with American products that support American jobs. Period.”
“We must ensure that tax dollars will continue to be invested in America, maximizing American jobs. Provisions like this one have already increased production, jobs, and capital investment in the steel industry, and it is critical that we continue policies that simultaneously improve our infrastructure and our economy.”