WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), author of the American Jobs Matter Act, applauded President Trump’s recent executive order requiring the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and several other U.S. agencies to review and strengthen the capacity of U.S. manufacturers to support our defense industrial base and national security. Murphy also called for the immediate passage of his American Jobs Matter Act, legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to take into account U.S. jobs when awarding government contracts to manufacturers. The bill would allow American manufacturing firms to leverage their contribution to the U.S. economy and win federal contracts by demonstrating how many jobs they will create or retain with the award of a contract.
“I don't see eye to eye with President Trump on much, but I've been pushing him to take concrete steps on improving Buy American laws, and this executive order is a step in the right direction. If it's followed up by real policy change from this administration, it could help stop the federal government from deliberately ignoring Buy American laws which results in lots of lost American jobs," said Murphy. “We’ve lost jobs in Connecticut because federal contractors haven’t taken into account that our economic security is tied to our national security – just look at what happened with the closure of Ansonia Copper & Brass. I want to make sure that never happens again. Congress should take the next step by passing my American Jobs Matter Act.”
Ansonia Copper & Brass, a brass manufacturing company that served that the U.S. Navy, was once Ansonia’s largest taxpayer and employed as many as 10,000 people for several decades. Despite laws requiring DoD to purchase American-made materials, Ansonia Copper & Brass lost federal contracts to overseas companies who could provide materials at a lower cost. As a result, Ansonia Copper & Brass was forced to lay off its workers and shut its doors in 2013.
Since 2007, the Department of Defense spent over $200 billion on goods manufactured by foreign firms. During the same period of time, the United States lost over 1.7 million manufacturing jobs.
Murphy attended President Trump’s “Buy American” event at the White House last week. After another disturbing report by the DoD Inspector General revealed that contracting personnel at the Defense Logistics Agency failed to comply with the Berry Amendment in 19 contracts – valued at $453.2 million – out of 32 contracts reviewed, Murphy decried the findings and demanded that DoD take immediate action to improve Buy American Act and Berry Amendment compliance, and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods. Earlier this year, President Trump acted on Murphy’s request to take executive action to close loopholes in Buy American laws. Murphy is also the author of the 21st Century Buy American Act to protect and grow American manufacturing jobs.