"Buy American" Bill Introduced in Nebraska Legislature
Last fall, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) testified before the Nebraska State Legislature's Committee on Revenue as part of a study examining "Municipal, State, and Federal Programs Available to Assist with Job Creation in the Manufacturing Sector."
In its testimony, AAM explained that one truly effective method of generating jobs is the adoption of Buy America policy.
Simply put, AAM explained that since the Federal government is the largest customer in the world, it makes sense for state and federal procurement policies to reflect U.S. and state policy priorities. Therefore, AAM urged that Nebraska consider procurement policies that give a preference in taxpayer-financed spending for products produced in the U.S.
AAM's testimony explained some of the history and benefits of Buy America policy:
When applied correctly, domestic content provisions maximize the use of American-made steel, concrete, glass, rubber, and other manufactured goods in the construction of public buildings and for roads, bridges, sewers, schools, and other infrastructure projects. For nearly 80 years, dating back to the Buy American Act of 1933, the federal government has had domestic sourcing – or Buy America – laws on the books to ensure that hard-earned tax dollars are reinvested in the American economy and that they create jobs in America and not abroad. To support our national security capabilities, Buy America laws were expanded in the 1940s to apply to defense spending. In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan signed into law an expansion of Buy America for highway and transit projects that are funded by federal grants.
According to an AAM report entitled How Infrastructure Investments Support the U.S. Economy, when the use of U.S.-made materials is maximized through a strong Buy America provision, manufacturing employment gains from infrastructure investment increase by up to 33 percent.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of Buy America laws has been eroded over time due to various loopholes and other efforts that make it easier for foreign goods to be purchased instead of those made in Nebraska and elsewhere in the United States.
Mello's bill would require that all of Nebraska's state agencies "should aid and promote the economy of the State of Nebraska and the United States by requiring a preference for the procurement of iron, steel, and manufactured goods produced in the United States in all contracts for the construction, reconstruction, repair, improvement, or maintenance of public works."
LB923 contains exceptions for when its implementation would lead to a cost differential of more than 10%, or involves components not available in the United States. In contrast, AAM has frequently urged the adoption of domestic procurement legislation that allows for a cost differential of as much as 25%.
The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has been a frequent advocate of Buy America policy on the national level, and Buy American procurement on the state level:
Read AAM's full testimony to the Nebraska Legislature on the benefits of Buy America policy.
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