Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) has criticized the Pentagon for apparently skirting Buy American procurement rules and hurting U.S. job growth by attempting to purchase Russian-made helicopters.

“The Pentagon is continuing a dangerous pattern of seeking foreign-made defense equipment while excluding viable American-made products,” Tiahrt said in prepared remarks. “The Obama administration needs to be held accountable for being complicit in allowing American jobs to be outsourced to foreign entities.”

The congressman claims the Navy is actively pursuing the purchase of 21 Russian Mi-17 helicopters for use in Afghanistan by the Afghan Air Force while prohibiting U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky from bidding on the contract even though they produce a very similar product.

The company has requested the Government Accountability Office to investigate the matter.

“We are in a painful economic recession that has destroyed millions of jobs, and yet the Pentagon and the president are prohibiting U.S. workers from even competing for defense projects,” Tiahrt said. “This level of discrimination against our own workers is unprecedented and should not be tolerated.”

The congressman was recently involved in blocking the Defense Department from leasing light-attack aircraft manufactured in Brazil without considering American-made alternatives, which were cheaper.

He also had a hand in stopping the Pentagon from awarding an aerial refueling tanker contract to European manufacturers.

Actions by Tiahrt come as Defense Secretary Robert Gates tries to stop Congress from slashing military budgets too deeply by proposing major cuts himself.

Earlier this week Gates proposed cutting thousands of jobs, many of which were in the private sector, to streamline operations. The proposal came on the heels of an investigative report by the Washington Post that showed a bloated and disjointed Defense Department.