Senators Braun and Baldwin Urge The White House to ‘Buy American’ in Bipartisan Letter
Yesterday, Senator Braun and Senator Baldwin sent a bipartisan letter to President Biden, urging him to implement federal Build America, Buy America (BABA) policies. In the letter, the Senators emphasized the importance of full and timely implementation of BABA to advance “Made in America” policies and addressed the federal agencies that have proposed waivers of BABA requirements, writing:
“As the Senate’s strongest supporters of federal Build America, Buy America (BABA) policies, we write to express our opposition to the repeated use of blanket waivers by your Administration designed to avoid these domestic preference requirements. While Congress in recent years has taken significant steps to strengthen BABA, these blanket waivers threaten to undermine these protections, resulting in billions of dollars of infrastructure funds failing to reach American workers.”
The Senators continued:
“We remain skeptical of lengthy excuses [by departments like Housing and Urban Development (HUD)] claiming these provisions are too complicated to enforce. Other federal departments like the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been successfully administering Buy America preference requirements for water infrastructure projects for years. These departments incorporate the same products and materials as those used in many of the projects receiving HUD’s federal financial assistance.”
The Senators conclude:
“Each waiver that unnecessarily undermines or delays BABA implementation erodes the market signal Congress intended to send with the BABA and results in missed opportunities to create America jobs and strengthen our national security.”
Last month, Senator Braun questioned HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge on the agency’s use of waivers and requested data on the agency’s use of American made products during a hearing for President’s FY 2023 HUD Funding Request and Budget Justification on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Title XI of the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act (IIJA) made significant improvements to Buy America laws, including the Build America, Buy America Act, which requires agencies to complete an in-depth review of BABA applicability across all eligible programs, among other improvements to U.S. law.
To date, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Interior, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Education, the Treasury Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Transportation have all proposed waivers of BABA requirements.