The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), North America’s largest defense and aerospace union, sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives in full support of retaining important language to enhance Buy American domestic content requirements for major defense acquisition programs in the final version of the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The language would bolster U.S. economic and national security and create good, middle-class jobs across the country by gradually increasing Buy American domestic content requirements for major defense acquisition programs to 75 percent by 2029.
U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-N.J.) first introduced the Buy American domestic content language as an amendment to the NDAA, while U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the language as an amendment to the FY23 NDAA in the Senate with bipartisan support. Norcross championed the language to its eventual inclusion into the House-passed version of the FY23 NDAA.
“Buy American policies serve the public good by targeting our tax dollars for the purchase of American-made products, thereby employing U.S. workers and putting our federal tax receipts to work here at home,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “For far too long we have neglected to properly consider the impact of defense procurement policy on our domestic industrial base and, consequently, on the U.S. economy. We as a nation need to act strategically when it comes to defense procurement.
“Not only do we need to supply our men and women in uniform with the best possible products and equipment, but we must also support the U.S. defense industrial base, including the small and midsized firms across America that constitute the supply chain for critical defense programs,” continued Martinez. “We must understand that the foundation of our industrial base lies with the skills and abilities of the American worker. This language would help ensure that our tax dollars are used to support both the U.S. workforce and the firms who employ them.”
The IAM has been pushing for a phased-in approach to give the domestic defense industry the time and clear signal needed to create jobs by adjusting to the increased domestic content requirement.