Cicilline, Murphy Introduce ‘Buy American’ Legislation to Ensure U.S. Government Prioritizes American-Made Goods and American Manufacturers

May 21, 2021 Issues: Jobs and the Economy

PAWTUCKET – U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Friday reintroduced the 21st Century Buy American Act, legislation that will strengthen existing Buy American laws to eliminate loopholes and ensure government procurement prioritizes American-made goods. The legislation could help create up to 100,000 jobs, according to the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute.

“American manufacturers can outperform anyone on a level playing field,” said Cicilline. “The 21st Century Buy American Act will make much-needed improvements to existing laws so that more American companies can take advantage of federal contracting opportunities. As a longtime hub of manufacturing, Rhode Island is well-positioned to benefit from this commonsense proposal. I look forward to advocating for this bill and other proposals that will help reinvigorate American manufacturing.”

“U.S. taxpayer dollars should be spent on goods that support American manufacturers at home—not overseas. That’s exactly why I am reintroducing two bills that will strengthen the transparency of our Buy American laws, help create thousands of good-paying jobs, and give Connecticut companies more opportunities to compete for government contracts. The Buy American movement continues to gain bipartisan momentum in the Senate—and support from the White House—and I look forward to continuing to support workers and manufacturers in Connecticut and across the country,” said Murphy.

Specifically, the 21st Century Buy American Act would:

  • Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to waive Buy American requirements. By closing these loopholes, agencies would rarely be able to use a “public interest waiver” without considering long- and short-term effects on U.S. employment. Current loopholes in Buy American laws allow agencies to exploit this waiver, leaving U.S. manufacturers behind.
  • Provide resources for U.S. manufacturers of items in short supply to help them compete against foreign manufacturers for U.S. government contracts. By claiming an item is “non-available” domestically, or almost non-available, federal agencies can avoid certain Buy American requirements. This legislation invests in new and existing manufacturers of “non-available” items or manufacturers who are the only domestic manufacturer of a specific item, ensuring that these companies – which are crucial to our long-term industrial base – receive the assistance they need to continue making items that are scarce in America. This is vital to America’s economic and national security.
  • Increase the domestic content percentage requirement. The 21st Century Buy American Act would increase made-in-America content percentage requirements to ensure that a majority of materials were domestically sourced in goods labeled as “Made in America.”