Senator Murphy Pursues Strengthened "Buy American" Legislation

On Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, Murphy will once again introduce his American Jobs Matter Act.

By:  Harriet Jones
WNPR News

Senator Chris Murphy says he believes he can get debate this session on one of his signature issues – making the US government buy American more often.

On Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session, Murphy will once again introduce his American Jobs Matter Act. The legislation would force the Department of Defense to consider the impact on US employment when it’s awarding contracts. Murphy has now introduced this legislation four times - and he says there’s still significant opposition from the Pentagon.

"The Department of Defense would technically spend a little bit more money on these contracts if they bought their goods from US companies," he told WNPR, "and the savings would accrue to other parts of the government; less unemployment benefits, more taxes coming in. But the Department of Defense doesn't realize those gains, so they've been fighting this proposal for the last five or six years.

"I'll get it passed eventually because it's the right thing to do," he pledged, "but they've certainly been a barrier thus far."

But Murphy says despite that, the Department of Defense is changing its practices. It authorized 47,000 waivers to allow it to purchase overseas in 2011. In 2013, the number was around 28,000.

Tighter controls on overseas purchasing could be a boon to the Nutmeg state, according to Murphy. "The big manufacturers will follow the law no matter what it is," he said. "If Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and Electric Boat are required to buy more components from American companies, they're going to look first to Connecticut companies because they have those relationships."