Excerpt from: Washington Examiner, 12/6/16
Dems: GOP already undermining Trump’s ‘Buy America’ promise
By Susan Crabtree
Senate Democrats are assailing Republicans for removing a “Buy America” provision from the waterways bill that they say President-elect Trump supports but House GOP have worked to eliminate.
“We’re getting a disconnect here between a victory lap” Trump took recently after saving 1,000 Carrier jobs and a decision by House Republicans to jettison a “Buy America” provision from the water infrastructure bill originally expected to pass the House and Senate by the end of the week, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told reporters Tuesday.
Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., scolded Republicans for seeming to undermine Trump’s two main promises on the country’s infrastructure rebuilding to “buy American, hire American.”
Schumer was referring to a statement that Trump made Thursday night during his “Thank You Tour” in Cincinnati.
“They turned right around and ripped a provision out of the water resources bill” that requires any infrastructure water projects to use American-made steel, he said.
“That would case the loss of many more jobs than Republican saved in Indiana,” Schumer said.
Schumer and Durbin are referring to language in the Senate-passed version of the Water Resources Development Act that would require the use of American iron and steel products in projects using money from the government’s drinking Water State Revolving fund. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reportedly pushed to strip the provision from the bill.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., also blamed Ryan and House Republicans for the move, arguing that it showed that they are “embracing the status quo in Washington.”
“This is a failure by House leadership to make a solid commitment to American manufacturers and workers,” she said Tuesday. “American workers should build our infrastructure with American products and taxpayers’ money should not be spent on Chinese or Russian iron and steel. It’s disappointing that President-elect Trump is sitting silent in Trump Tower.”
Baldwin, who authored the “Buy America” provision, has called on Trump to take a stand on an effort to pull the language from the water resources bill that passed the Senate in September.
Excerpt from: Daily Kos, Dec.7, 2016
Congressional Republicans sucker punch American steel workers, scrapping ‘Buy America’ provision
By Kerry Eleveld
Donald Trump may have positioned himself as the champion of American workers but Republicans on the Hill are already embracing his “do as I say, not as I do” modus operandi. Under the backing of Paul Ryan, the GOP leadership stripped a provision from a water bill Monday that would have required American-made iron and steel products to be used in infrastructure projects in Flint and elsewhere funded by the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown blasted Republicans, who removed the “Buy America” provision (which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support) while the House and Senate were reconciling the bills. In other words, GOP leadership scrapped it behind closed doors.
“By stripping meaningful Buy America rules from the water infrastructure bill, Washington leadership is choosing China and Russia over Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin,” said Brown. “This was the first major test of whether Washington establishment Republicans would live up to President-elect Trump’s promises to put American products and American workers first – they failed, and American iron and steel workers will pay the price.”
Now, Brown is teaming up with Democratic Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Bob Casey of Pennsylvania to insert the provision back in the bill.
They want to reattach the provision to a nearly $12 billion Water Resource Development Act (WRDA), which authorizes dozens of infrastructure projects around the country and is on track to pass the House this week.
“I’m not giving up on this fight,” Baldwin said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Why would we pass a bill that only benefits Russian and Chinese steel corporations when we could be providing certainty to American manufacturers of steel and iron?”
That sentiment was shared by some steel worker groups earlier this week:
“From our end it’s a little baffling,” said Roy Houseman, a legislative representative for the United Steelworkers. “It’s been a program that’s been really successful, and it has bipartisan support. We’re just very confused by the Speaker, who’s not listening to the rest of his caucus.”
In essence, “Buy America” sounds as nice to Republicans as it did to Trump, but in practice they would rather preserve the “Buy Chinese” option that Trump uses to build his skyscrapers.