WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, on Wednesday responded to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report outlining violations from several executive agencies regarding the Buy American Act and steps the executive branch can take to make sure these agencies are in full compliance of the law. The report found multiple occasions where the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security (DHS), and Veterans Affairs (VA), incorrectly recorded or misrepresented information related to the Buy American Act. For example, DHS incorrectly stated that an $18 million contract was spent on aircraft accessories manufactured in the United States, even though the parts were made by a foreign company.
Last year, Murphy requested the Comptroller General of the United States Gene L. Dodaro and his office investigate U.S. government compliance with laws and regulations – such as the Buy American Act and the Berry Amendment – that require U.S. agencies to prioritize the purchase of American-made goods over the purchase of foreign-made goods.
“I am tired of our government sending taxpayer dollars overseas for goods they can buy here at home. I requested this report because I’ve seen how blatantly the federal government violates Buy American laws. Unfortunately, it hasn’t stopped. The GAO just found out that the Trump administration spent $18 million on foreign aircraft parts that we should have bought from U.S. manufacturers. Connecticut manufacturers are the best at what they do and deserve to have an opportunity to compete for these contracts,” said Murphy. “These laws are in place for a reason. If President Trump is serious when he says ‘America first’, his administration must get serious about complying with laws that help our manufacturers make products to defend our country.”
Murphy, the author of the BuyAmerican.gov Act and the American Jobs Matter Act, has been a longtime advocate for closing loopholes in our broken Buy American laws. In 2016, he met with then-DoD Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall after a similar report outlining violations at DoD that may have cost American manufacturers more than $200 billion in business over five years. Earlier this year, Murphy convinced DoD increase transparency and critical protections against the U.S. government purchase of foreign-made unmanned aerial systems, or drones.
The manufacturing industry plays a crucial role throughout Connecticut communities, creating new jobs and accelerating our state’s economic recovery. Today, Connecticut’s 4,602 manufacturers account for 10.2% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports.