WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) on Friday reintroduced the 21st Century Buy American Act, legislation would strengthen existing Buy American laws to eliminate loopholes and ensure government procurement prioritizes American-made goods, and would create up to 100,000 jobs according to the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute.

Murphy also introduced The American Jobs Matter Act, which he originally introduced as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, would require the Department of Defense for the first time to measure the impact of its purchasing decisions on the domestic labor force. Under this proposed legislation, the U.S. government would be required to take into account the number of American jobs created or retained by manufacturers and those manufacturers’ overall impact on the U.S. economy when awarding federal contracts. Murphy made the announcement at a manufacturers’ roundtable at Goodwin University in East Hartford. 

“U.S. taxpayer dollars should be spent on goods that support American manufacturers at home—not overseas. That’s exactly why I am reintroducing two bills that will strengthen the transparency of our Buy American laws, help create thousands of good-paying jobs, and give Connecticut companies more opportunities to compete for government contracts. The Buy American movement continues to gain bipartisan momentum in the Senate—and support from the White House—and I look forward to continuing to support workers and manufacturers in Connecticut and across the country,” said Murphy.

“American manufacturers can outperform anyone on a level playing field,” said Cicilline. “The 21st Century Buy American Act will make much-needed improvements to existing laws so that more American companies can take advantage of federal contracting opportunities. As a longtime hub of manufacturing, Rhode Island is well-positioned to benefit from this commonsense proposal. I look forward to advocating for this bill and other proposals that will help reinvigorate American manufacturing.”

Specifically, the 21st Century Buy American Act would:

·       Close loopholes that allow federal agencies to waive Buy American requirements. By closing these loopholes, agencies would rarely be able to use a “public interest waiver” without considering long- and short-term effects on U.S. employment. Current loopholes in Buy American laws allow agencies to exploit this waiver, leaving U.S. manufacturers behind.

·       Provide resources for U.S. manufacturers of items in short supply to help them compete against foreign manufacturers for U.S. government contracts. By claiming an item is “non-available” domestically, or almost non-available, federal agencies can avoid certain Buy American requirements. This legislation invests in new and existing manufacturers of “non-available” items or manufacturers who are the only domestic manufacturer of a specific item, ensuring that these companies – which are crucial to our long-term industrial base – receive the assistance they need to continue making items that are scarce in America. This is vital to America’s economic and national security.

·       Increase the domestic content percentage requirement. The 21st Century Buy American Act would increase made-in-America content percentage requirements to ensure that a majority of materials were domestically sourced in goods labeled as “Made in America. 

Specifically, the American Jobs Matter Act would:

·       Help protect and grow jobs in the United States. The American Jobs Matter Act would require DoD to consider contractors’ “jobs impact statement” in addition to price, past performance, and other factors when determining which firm should receive a manufacturing contract. A “jobs impact statement” would outline the number of jobs the manufacturing firm expects to create or retain in the United States if a government contract is awarded.

Last week, Murphy applauded the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for passing his bipartisan BuyAmerican.gov Act, legislation that will establish a centralized online hub to increase transparency and ensure federal agencies prioritize the purchase of American-made goods in compliance with existing law.