House votes to close loopholes for "Buy America" in pending transportation bill.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 245 to 169 to approve a "Motion to Instruct Conferees," which directs Members of a House conference committee to close loopholes and strengthen "Buy America" preferences in long-term surface transportation legislation being considered by a House-Senate conference committee.
Specifically, the Motion to Instruct directs conferees to adopt several Senate provisions to strengthen Buy America requirements, including:
- prohibit segmentation of highway, transit, and Amtrak projects;
- require opportunities for public notice and comment on waiver requests and publication in the Federal Register before waivers take effect;
- require review of longstanding waivers for highway and rail projects; and
- require an annual report on waivers granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The U.S. has utilized a preference for American-made goods in highway and transit projects for 30 years. Such legislation has included waivers for instances where a needed material/good is not made in the U.S. or the cost rise above a certain threshold point.
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