U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) called for immediate passage of his 21st Century Buy American Act on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) released an alarming report revealing that the agency spent approximately $11.3 billion on purchases from foreign entities in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.
The report also revealed that an overwhelming 81% of all of DoD’s FY 2015 foreign purchases were made using a loophole in ‘Buy American’ requirements regarding the purchase of goods used overseas, without consideration of American manufacturers. Murphy’s 21st Century Buy American Act would close this loophole and strengthen existing ‘Buy American’ standards to ensure that federal agencies prioritize American-made goods and American jobs.
The report also revealed that DoD spent nearly $600 million on foreign aircraft engines and parts, which is especially damaging to Connecticut’s aerospace manufacturers.
“I’m deeply disturbed that the Department of Defense is needlessly sending taxpayer dollars overseas for goods they can buy right here at home. Instead of investing in our own manufacturers, the United States has shipped money and jobs overseas — a whopping $187 billion in just the last 9 years alone. Enough is enough,” said Murphy. “It’s about time we close gaping loopholes in our ‘Buy American’ laws and do everything we can to create new American jobs, bolster our country’s manufacturing sector, and grow opportunities for the middle class. My 21st Century Buy American Act is a commonsense way to put American workers and businesses first, and I urge the Senate to pass it immediately.”
Buy American Act waivers are intended to allow federal agencies to purchase goods or services from foreign companies in extraordinary circumstances: for example, when an American-made good is unavailable or will increase the cost of a product to prohibitively high levels. However, federal agencies, like DoD, currently overuse their waiver authority without considering the long and short term effects on U.S. employment.
Since 2007, the Department of Defense has spent over $187 billion on goods manufactured by foreign companies instead of investing in American manufacturers and job creation.