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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Baldwin Amendment would protect vital content preferences for national defense needs.

Senators are back in Washington after the August recess, and they’re about to take on a particularly important task: Funding the Pentagon.

The Senate is set to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allocates nearly $700 billion for national defense needs. Senators have introduced more than 300 amendments to the bill, and one in particular caught our eye.

Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) put forth an amendment to strike section 863 of the NDAA, which would end vital domestic content preferences for a number of defense needs. If section 863 is put into effect, Buy America preferences would be severely weakened, meaning the production of goods such as shipbuilding components, vehicles, photovoltaic devices and other items could be offshored.

Given the vulnerabilities and national security risks already present in our defense supply chain, it doesn’t make sense to further diminish the existing domestic content preferences already in place, AAM President Scott Paul wrote in a letter sent to senators on Monday:

“This ill-advised outsourcing provision would pull the rug from under domestic producers of these products and would likely result in foreign producers supplying the Pentagon. … Our national security rests on a strong and ready domestic manufacturing sector. If domestic manufacturing capabilities are compromised, we may be forced to rely on countries like China and Russia to supply our military and critical infrastructure needs. Doing so would be a mistake.”

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has voiced its opposition to Section 863. In fact, the provision runs counter to two Trump executive orders, including an April order that aimed to find ways to strengthen Buy America preferences and a July order directing the Pentagon to look at ways to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities.

Baldwin’s amendment currently has nine Senate cosponsors. We encourage the Senate to include the amendment in final passage of the NDAA.