Tell the House to Support a Stronger Buy American Act

U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has introduced legislation to create American jobs and revitalize American manufacturing.

The Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011 (H.R. 3533) strengthens Buy American requirements for investments in U.S. transportation and infrastructure projects. The bill ensures that the steel, iron, and manufactured goods used to construct projects financed by U.S. taxpayers are produced in the United States.

“Many Americans, still recovering from the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, are desperately seeking work,” said Rep. Rahall. “The legislation we are introducing will ensure that all future bridges and similar transportation and infrastructure projects financed by U.S. taxpayers will be stamped ‘Made in America,’ crafted with American workmanship, and will create and sustain good-paying jobs in our local communities – not overseas.”

Rep. Rahall explained how this past summer, workers for a Chinese state-owned company loaded four steel modules, weighing a combined 5,300 tons, onto a ship for a 22-day journey across the Pacific. The steel was to be used as the final component of the State of California’s largest public works project in its history – replacing the 2.2-mile East Span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Rahall says a total of 43,000 tons of steel for the $6.3 billion project will soon be stamped “Made in China,” but paid for by U.S. taxpayers. This project employed 3,000 workers in China – jobs that should have gone to American workers.

“We are no longer buying just cheap trinkets from China – we are literally buying bridges and major transportation infrastructure, while outsourcing innovation and capabilities that could be fostered and strengthened in the U.S.,” said Rep. Rahall. “At a time when more than 25 million Americans are unable to find jobs, are only working part-time, or have altogether given up hope of finding a job, it is appalling, offensive, and downright wrong to send our taxpayer dollars to China when they should be invested in U.S. companies here at home rebuilding America.”

Democrats are calling on Republicans to include the stronger Buy American requirements in a long-term surface transportation reauthorization currently being crafted. Click here to tell your House member to support the Invest in American Jobs Act of 2011 as part of the surface reauthorization bill today.