Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin (D) says anything the government buys should be made in America. That’s why she wants to add her “Buy America” legislation to a water infrastructure bill which the U.S. Senate will consider in the coming weeks.
“When we build and rebuild our drinking water infrastructure, we use American steel, American iron and hire American workers,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s “Buy America” provision is included in the Senate’s version of the Water Resources Development Act, which would require taxpayer-funded water project to use American materials and workers.
“When we expend taxpayer dollars, we out to be supporting American components,” she said.
Conservative groups, like the Heritage Foundation, say “Buy America” policies sound good, but tend to drive up costs.
“We should be supporting American companies as much as we possibly can, but it’s also the duty of the government to spend the taxpayer dollars as wisely as they can,” said Tori Whiting of the Heritage Foundation.
Baldwin says her measure allows for exceptions in certain cases, but the Heritage Foundation says that’s just governmental red tape.
“That slows out the process, and we end up having additional costs on top of that,” Whiting said.
The House passed its version of the water infrastructure bill without the “Buy America” provision. But President Trump has said he supports “Buy America”, so Baldwin hopes he’ll send a message to Republican leaders when they consider what goes in the final version of the bill.
“When this water infrastructure bill comes to my desk, I want permanent ‘Buy America’ provisions in it,” Baldwin said.
The Senate is expected to take up the bill later this summer.