Lipinski Helps Introduce Bill to Stop the Offshoring of Infrastructure Jobs (December 1, 2011)

Today, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) helped unveil House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Ranking Member Nick J. Rahall’s Invest in American Jobs Act, which would ensure that the steel, iron, and other manufactured goods used in federally funded transportation and infrastructure projects are made in America. Passage of the bill is particularly urgent now, since both the House and Senate are working on multi-year surface transportation reauthorization legislation. The Invest in American Jobs Act would guarantee the maximization of domestic job creation in any federal infrastructure bill.

The Invest in American Jobs Act would close loopholes in existing Buy America requirements to prevent a repeat of what happened with the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which received substantial federal funding but whose steel bridge decks were fabricated by 3,000 workers at a state-run Chinese company with no prior bridge-building experience and shipped to the United States.

“When I first heard that large parts of the new bridge between San Francisco and Oakland were going to be ‘Made in China,’ I thought that it was an internet hoax,” Rep. Lipinski said at a press conference with Rep. Rahall in Washington. “In fact, it was a 40,000 ton example of the gaping loopholes in our Buy America laws. There is no reason the federal government should be spending taxpayer dollars – in this case $320 million – on a project that outsources the jobs we desperately need here at home. I’ve had enough of watching taxpayer money go abroad while more American factories close. As we work on passing a robust, multi-year transportation reauthorization bill to build critical infrastructure projects and get people back to work, we should pass this legislation to make sure that every dollar invested stays here in the U.S.A and produces as many jobs as possible for the American people. This is a ‘no brainer’ for most Americans, but we all know that too many in Washington don’t get it.”

Rep. Lipinski is a strong supporter of strengthening federal laws to make sure that American taxpayer dollars support domestic jobs. His Buy American Improvement Act, H.R. 2722, would reform procurement practices across the federal government to prevent taxpayer money from winding up in the pockets of foreign workers. He also recently forced the Defense Department to abide by existing Buy American rules and rebid a contract that had been improperly awarded to a South Korean company, thereby enabling a local Third District manufacturer in Bedford Park to win the bidding.

“When we farm out an infrastructure project to an overseas company, we not only lose the jobs directly connected with that project, we help that company to compete against U.S. manufacturers in the future,” Rep. Lipinski said. “The Chinese company that helped build the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge repeatedly stated that a prime motivation for its participation was that it would be better positioned to obtain future contracts for major infrastructure projects in the United States and elsewhere. Washington should be standing up for American workers, not helping to send their taxes and their jobs halfway around the world.”

(December 1, 2011)