Cravaack Explains 'Buy America' Steel Amendment With Robert Traynham
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Published on Mar 9, 2012
U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8) secured legislative provisions that will create U.S. jobs, increase U.S. steel production, and ensure that more American steel product is used in federal transportation construction projects.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is producing a long-term reauthorization and reform of federal surface transportation programs, a key component of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7). This legislation is the largest transportation reform bill since the creation of the Interstate Highway System.
"At a time when other countries give massive subsidies to their steel makers, we should at the very least give our steel producers the first opportunity to supply steel for our transportation projects. We support American-made steel, American jobs, and American industry. Minnesota will not tolerate the importing of Chinese and Brazilian product at the expense of its workers."
The Cravaack 'Buy America' amendment closes loopholes which are exploited by countries like China and Brazil. Specifically, the provision prohibits the 'segmentation' of projects, a tactic used to avoid the 'Buy America' preference. Closing these loopholes ensures that 'Buy America' will be followed and that American jobs and industry will be protected.
The Cravaack amendment also maximizes project transparency. For instance, it expands the Federal Highway Administration's (FHWA) informal waiver process to other DOT programs with the 'Buy American' preference. Additionally, the amendment requires that the Secretary publish a detailed written justification as to why the waiver is needed for public consumption within 30 days. This web-based process streamlines the 'Buy America' waivers and allows for maximum transparency.
After the Transportation Committee agreed to the Cravaack amendment, subsequent attempts to gut two-thirds of existing 'Buy America' requirements and kill the jobs of 3900 people directly employed by iron ore operations in Minnesota's Eighth District were defeated.
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