WASHINGTON —After a disturbing report by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General revealed that contracting personnel at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) failed to comply with the Berry Amendment in 19 contracts – valued at $453.2 million – out of 32 contracts reviewed, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) 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.
“Every single time the Inspector General conducts one of these audits, DoD fails miserably. There’s a complete breakdown of compliance with the law and of respect for American businesses and workers,” said Murphy. “Every single time they break the rules, knowingly or not, and send a contract overseas, it means fewer jobs here at home. DoD’s contracting personnel need to be re-trained to ensure they follow the law. I’ll keep pushing DoD until they’ve made it clear that they’re changing their ways.”
Murphy has led a consistent push in Congress to strengthen and improve compliance with Buy American laws and to protect Connecticut’s defense manufacturers. After citing recent fraudulent activity and highlighting the need for reforms within DoD, Murphy called on DoD Secretary James Mattis last month to provide an update on the re-training of DoD personnel in Buy American Act and Berry Amendment laws. According to a distressing 2016 report by DoD’s Inspector General, one-third of U.S. Air Force contracts reviewed violated either the Buy American Act or the Berry Amendment. Air Force personnel did not comply with the Buy American Act for 12 out of 33 contracts reviewed, and Air Force personnel did not comply with the Berry Amendment for six out of 21 contracts reviewed. The previous year, DoD Inspector General released a similar report revealing that 40% of U.S. Navy contracts reviewed also violated either the Buy American Act or the Berry Amendment.
Earlier this year, President Trump acted on Murphy’s request to take executive action to close loopholes in Buy American laws. Murphy also recently requested that the U.S. Government Accountability 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. Murphy is the author of the 21st Century Buy American Act and American Jobs Matter Act to protect and grow American manufacturing jobs.