Enacting Specifications To Demand Quality Products And Ensure Public Safety Is Not Only The Right Thing To Do — It's American!
By Chris Keffer, executive director, Domestic First Coalition*
In the coming weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives will have the opportunity to vote on the vital Water Resource Development Act, which will provide additional financing mechanisms to help fund the overwhelming task of repairing and/or replacing our nation’s dilapidating water and wastewater infrastructure systems. This will obviously be a huge opportunity for the waterworks industry, but it is also a huge opportunity to guarantee that the products being used in these systems are of the highest quality and the tax dollars being spent to underwrite these projects will be reinvested many times over in our local economies.
The House should follow the Senate’s lead and include a common sense “Buy American” preference in this legislation. Similar provisions are currently being successfully implemented at the federal level, and the benefits are undeniable. These provisions make even greater sense in this situation due to the fact this federal aid program will be administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which heavily regulates domestic manufacturers and waterworks purveyors alike.
Unfortunately, however, “Buy American” (BA) provisions have been met with opposition at every level of government, from City Hall to Capitol Hill. Many times the arguments used to dismantle these critical specifications are saturated with misinformation and unfounded scare tactics.
It’s time to start setting the record straight. Not only is it legal to enact specifications requiring products to be manufactured in the U.S., the economic, safety, and environmental benefits are vast and compelling.
The Red, White, and Blue Facts:
- BA provisions are legal and comply with international trade agreements.
- BA provisions are widely supported and demanded by most American voters and taxpayers.
- BA provisions ensure that the highest quality and necessary environmental standards are met.
- BA provisions have proven to create and/or save local jobs and to be a positive impact on local economies.
- BA provisions always include safeguards for local governments and do NOT require these entities to simply go without certain products if domestic equivalents do not exist or meet other specifications.
- BA provisions strengthen our national security by providing a greater domestic workforce and decrease our reliance on foreign goods and materials.
- BA provisions keep more of our U.S. tax dollars at home.
Please do not be misled by misinformation. “Buy American” provisions work and have been successfully enacted at every level of government across our nation. These requirements are critical to preserving and re-energizing our domestic workforce, while ensuring the products being used were manufactured under the highest quality and necessary environmental standards.
Demand quality. Ensure safety. Create local jobs. It’s American!
* Domestic First Coalition is an organization dedicated to education and advocacy efforts encouraging public entities and government officials at the local, state, and national level to purchase domestically manufactured products.