WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, on Monday reintroduced The 21st Century Buy American Act, legislation to strengthen America’s existing Buy American laws to ensure that the U.S. government prioritizes the purchase of American-made goods. The non-partisan Economic Policy Institute said Murphy’s 21st Century Buy American Act would create up to 100,000 jobs. U.S. Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) introduced the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There have been some hard-fought small wins in the Buy American movement lately, including a BuyAmerican.gov website, but we still have a ways to go. I’m reintroducing the 21st Century Buy American Act to help strengthen our manufacturing sector and bring local jobs back to Connecticut. I have seen manufacturing companies across our state step up in a big way during the COVID-19 pandemic to produce critical PPE and ventilators, and taxpayers want their dollars supporting these companies. Anyone who professes to being a champion of U.S. manufacturing should support this legislation,” said Murphy.

Specifically, the 21st Century Buy American Act will:

  • 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 – that 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 for America’s economy and national security. 
  • Increase the domestic content percentage requirement. The 21st Century Buy American Act will increase the domestic content percentage requirement from 50% to 60%. Therefore, in order to qualify as American-made, a company must produce a majority of its materials in the U.S.