A long-time priority of the IAM, enhancing Buy American standards for major defense programs, has cleared a critical first hurdle toward becoming law.
The IAM, along with U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), are championing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that expands Buy American requirements for defense procurement to 100 percent by 2026.Currently, only 50 percent of defense production is required to be produced domestically, not counting frequent exceptions to the law.
The amendment passed by voice vote Wednesday night in the House Armed Services Committee, despite attempts by GOP lawmakers to weaken the provision.
“We as a nation need to act strategically when it comes to defense procurement,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “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. industrial base. Congressman Norcross’ amendment to improve Buy American requirements in defense procurement would help ensure that our tax dollars are used to support the U.S. workforce and the firms who employ them.”
The proposed amendment would immediately increase Buy American requirements for major defense acquisition programs to 75 percent domestic content and then increase the percentage by 5 percent per year. The measures would bolster economic and national security and create good, middle-class jobs.
“As we’ve seen through the current pandemic and the early severe lack of personal protective equipment, when we don’t have the manufacturing capacity here in the U.S., our national security and the lives of Americans are at risk. We must do better,” said Norcross. “Buy American, which has the strong support of our hard-working defense contract workforce, shows that we are truly serious about building things in the U.S., creating good paying jobs and supporting the American worker.”
The Buy American amendment will now go to the House floor in the coming weeks, when the NDAA is considered for passage.