Lipinski Adds Amendment to Defense Bill to Create Jobs and Strengthen Security

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) succeeded in adding an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5136, to ensure that American companies have a fighting chance to receive Department of Defense contracts. Congressman Lipinski's amendment requires the DOD to solicit bids from domestic suppliers when procuring articles, materials, or supplies for use outside the United States. In 2008, the DOD spent over $8 billion on these purchases from foreign entities.

"Today's vote was a victory for American workers, American manufacturers, and our national security," Congressman Lipinski said. "America should not have to rely on foreign companies to supply our men and women in uniform. Nor should we ever send taxpayer dollars overseas when they could be helping to create desperately needed jobs here at home. By requiring the Department of Defense to solicit bids from U.S. companies when purchasing items for use outside our borders, my amendment helps level the playing field for American workers. As we fight to put Americans back to work, it's critical that taxpayer dollars ‘Buy American.'"

When the Buy American Act was passed in 1933, it exempted goods used abroad because shipping was slower and much more costly. But that has changed, and it's time we let American manufacturers compete for these contracts.

Congressman Lipinski also worked successfully with Reps. Donna F. Edwards (MD) and Christopher Murphy (CT) to add amendments to the Defense Authorization requiring the DOD to study the impact of its procurement methods on domestic jobs, report on the domestic capacity to produce items procured from overseas, and explain annual increases and decreases in the number of waivers it grants under the Buy American Act.

Congressman Lipinski has been a leader in the effort to force the federal government to abide by both the letter and the spirit of the Buy American Act. He recently introduced the Buy American Improvement Act, H.R. 4351, to eliminate loopholes in existing Buy American laws. He also recently led a bipartisan group of 20 House members in demanding the Census Bureau explain why it spent millions of taxpayer dollars on imported t-shirts, hats, and other promotional items when American manufacturing has lost 2.1 million jobs in under three years. Congressman Lipinski continues to press the Census Bureau for answers.

"I plan to seize every opportunity I can to make the federal government comply with the Buy American Act and purchase from domestic sources whenever possible," Congressman Lipinski said. "It's bad enough that our government has stood by for decades and allowed the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs to countries such as China. But for it to actively increase the outflow of good-paying jobs by using taxpayer dollars to make purchases from foreign companies is intolerable, now more than ever."

(May 28, 2010)


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