WASHINGTON — Weeks after President Trump walked back his promise and announced that the slated Keystone XL pipeline would not be constructed in entirety with American-made steel, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and a group of nine other senators on Thursday in urging President Trump to protect American steel jobs. The President issued a memorandum requiring all new pipelines to be constructed with American-made materials, but immediately broke that promise with regard to the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Murphy, who has voted against and remains vocally opposed to construction of the Keystone pipeline, arguing instead for greater investments in clean energy to protect the environment and combat climate change, is a Senate leader on strengthening Buy American requirements. The senators’ letter on Thursday requested that if pipelines are approved, the government should at minimum ensure they are constructed and maintained with American-made products and equipment.
“Your memorandum explicitly covers new and expanded pipeline projects so we were confused and disappointed to learn that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be required to use 100 percent American-made steel,” the senators wrote in their letter. “Further, we are deeply concerned that by allowing this Canadian firm to use foreign steel from countries like India and Italy, which have a history of dumping steel products in the U.S. market at unfair, illegal prices, you are establishing a precedent that will have the effect of costing U.S. jobs and undermining the spirit of your Presidential Memorandum.”
The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Minn.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Gary C. Peters (D-Mich.).
Earlier this year, Murphy called on President Trump to immediately take action to close loopholes in Buy American laws that too often hurt American manufacturers. Murphy wrote a letter to Trump outlining five specific executive actions he should take, but has not yet heard back from the White House. Murphy has also introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to strengthen existing standards and prioritize the purchase of American-made goods, the 21st Century Buy American Act and the American Jobs Matter Act.
The full text of the letter is available online and below:
The Honorable Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Trump:
On January 24, 2017, you issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Secretary of Commerce directing the Secretary to “develop a plan under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States, including portions of pipelines, use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law.”
As champions of expanding Buy American requirements to make sure taxpayer-supported projects contract with American companies to the greatest extent possible, we were initially encouraged by this memorandum. We were disappointed, however, when we learned that your Administration would exempt the Keystone XL pipeline project from this Buy American policy.
Your memorandum explicitly covers new and expanded pipeline projects so we were confused and disappointed to learn that the Keystone XL pipeline would not be required to use 100 percent American-made steel. Further, we are deeply concerned that by allowing this Canadian firm to use foreign steel from countries like India and Italy, which have a history of dumping steel products in the U.S. market at unfair, illegal prices, you are establishing a precedent that will have the effect of costing U.S. jobs and undermining the spirit of your Presidential Memorandum.
Accordingly, we request that you reconsider your decision to allow a foreign company to use foreign steel in the Keystone XL pipeline, and urge you to secure a firm commitment to source 100 percent American-made steel for this project. Doing so would be a strong statement of support for American manufacturers and the hard working women and men who fuel our national economy.
Christopher S. Murphy
Cory A. Booker
Thomas R. Carper
Chris Van Hollen
Gary C. Peters