© Greg Nash
Senate Democrats are pressing President Trump to support their "Buy America" proposal, warning that the president has backed away from his campaign promises on trade.
"If the president is serious about Buy America, the most important thing he can do is announce his support for [Sen.] Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinBuilding back better by investing in workers and communities The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE's [D-Wis.] bill today. That would be real," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden's Supreme Court commission ends not with a bang but a whimper Hispanic organizations call for Latino climate justice in reconciliation Senate to vote next week on Freedom to Vote Act MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters during a conference call.
Trump is traveling to Wisconsin on Tuesday, where he will sign a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order.
The order is expected to reinforce stricter adherence to laws requiring the federal government to purchase American-made products and target the H-1B guest-worker visa program.
But Schumer argued on Tuesday that the president's forthcoming executive order is "vapid" and won't help American workers.
"The executive order and today's event are like the rest of the Trump presidency — the president continues to say one thing and do another and the American worker continues to get the short end of the stick from this administration," he told reporters.
He added that the "reality hasn't matched his [campaign] rhetoric. ... President Trump's policies puts profits over people."
Instead of the executive order, Schumer floated that Trump could support changes made to the H-1B program as part of a broader immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.
"Unfortunately, I think we're headed for a rerun of the same movie we've seen before. The president makes a promise, signs an empty executive order ... and goes right back to helping the special interest," Schumer said.
Baldwin introduced the "Buy America" legislation earlier this year that would require American iron and steel products to be used in certain drinking-water projects.
The same language was included in a waterways bill last year, but was stripped from the final version by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Critics argue the requirement would block some companies from receiving federal money.
Baldwin, in a separate statement, asked Trump to support her bill and "join me in taking on the status quo and make a commitment to push Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] and Speaker Ryan on legislative action."
Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAmerica can end poverty among its elderly citizens Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Building back better by investing in workers and communities MORE (D-Ohio) added that Trump's executive order was a step in the right direction but didn't go far enough.
"That’s why I’ve asked President Trump to work with me on my legislation to use American steel and iron and American labor to build all taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects," he said.
Democrats pledged to focus on sharpening their economic message in the wake of Trump's surprise White House victory, where his criticism of President Obama's trade policy helped him win traditionally Democratic states in the Midwest.
Schumer added on Tuesday that he expects Democrats will have a "really strong trade package" and urged Trump to work with them on the legislation.
"When we're ready to announce it we will, but we're going to have a really strong trade package and we hope the president will work with us on something like this," he told reporters.