WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) today announced he filed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that strengthens Buy American requirements for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The amendment closes the “overseas use” loophole that allows American taxpayer dollars to be spent on goods produced by foreign companies simply because the DoD plans to use the goods in another country. Murphy’s amendment would stipulate that such “overseas use” waivers to Buy American requirements would only be granted if the goods being purchased are urgently needed in service of America’s national security.
Last year, DoD bought $6 billion worth of non-American products and services. Of that amount, $5 billion – or 83% – was bought using the “overseas use” exception.
“The Pentagon should be required to buy American-made goods unless there’s a genuine budgetary or national security reason they can’t do so. That’s just common sense. But too often, the Department of Defense exploits a loophole in the law that allows them to send American taxpayer dollars to foreign corporations that compete with local businesses,” said Murphy. “This amendment would help break the Pentagon’s addiction to Buy American waivers and provide a boost for American manufacturing. I’m proud to work hard on behalf of Connecticut’s manufacturers at a time when too many good manufacturing jobs are being sent overseas.”
Last week, Murphy released a report sounding the alarm over the billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of Buy American waivers used by the federal government. The report revealed that instead of investing in American manufacturers and job creation, DoD granted a staggering 307,123 waivers and exceptions to the Buy American Act over the last 8 years, and spent over $176.8 billion of taxpayers’ dollars on goods manufactured by foreign companies. Murphy emphasized that even as DoD’s reliance on waivers overall has decreased, the number of waivers used for shipbuilding and aerospace products – two of Connecticut’s most important manufacturing sectors – remains steady. This combined $5.4 billion wasted opportunity, which could have had an outsized positive impact on Connecticut, has instead cost Connecticut jobs.